The Pharmaceutics and Compounding Laboratory
Pharmaceutical Solutions I:
Simple, Saturated, Syrups

Preparation of Syrups

Syrups should be carefully prepared in clean equipment to prevent contamination. Three methods may be used to prepare syrups (See Remington's for a full explanation):

  • Solution with heat
  • Agitation without heat
  • Percolation

Although the hot method is quickest, it is not applicable to syrups of thermolabile or volatile ingredients. When using heat, temperature must be carefully controlled to avoid decomposing and darkening the syrup (caramelization).

Syrups may be prepared from sugars other than sucrose (glucose, fructose), non-sugar polyols (sorbitol, glycerin, propylene glycol, mannitol), or other non-nutritive artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin) when a reduction in calories or glucogenic properties is desired, as with the diabetic patient. The non-nutritive sweeteners do not impart the characteristic viscosity of syrups and require the addition of viscosity adjusters, such as methylcellulose. The polyols, though less sweet than sucrose, have the advantage of providing favorable viscosity, reducing cap-locking (which occurs when sucrose crystallizes), and in some cases acting as cosolvents and preservatives. A 70% sorbitol solution is commercially available for use as a vehicle.