The Pharmaceutics and Compounding Laboratory
Pharmaceutical Solutions II:
Nonaqueous Solutions


Elixirs are defined by the USP as "clear, sweetened, hydroalcoholic liquids intended for oral use." Their alcohol content ranges from 5-40% (10-80 proof), e.g. Phenobarbital Elixir, USP. Elixirs are flavored hydroalcoholic solutions to which glycerin often is added to enhance the solvent properties and act as a preservative. The alcoholic contents of elixirs varies widely; actually a few commercial elixirs contain no alcohol, while other elixirs may contain as much as 40% alcohol. The concentration of alcohol is determined by the amount required to maintain the drug or volatile oil in solution. The addition of aqueous solutions to elixirs may cause turbidity or separation by lessening the alcohol concentration.