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• There are occasions in which the dilution or concentration of a pharmaceutical

preparation is either desirable or required.

• 1st quantity X 1st concentration = 2nd quantity X 2nd concentration

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• Example(1): if 500 ml of 15% v/v solution are diluted to 1500 ml, what will be the

percentage strength (v/v)

Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

500(ml) X 15(%) = 1500(ml) X x(%) X = 5%

• Example(2): if 50 ml of 1: 20 w/v solution are diluted to 1000 ml, what is the ratio

strength (w/v)?

1 : 20 = 5%

Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

50(ml) X 5(%) = 1000(ml) X x(%) X = 0.25% = 1: 400

Altering Product Strength

its strength will be reduced by one half because the active ingredient

will be contained in twice as many parts of the whole

• 5 grams in 100 mL = 5%

• 5 grams in 200 mL = 2.5 %

Dilution and Concentration

ingredient will be contained in one-half as many parts of the whole

and the strength will be doubled.

• 5 grams in 100 mL = 5%

• 5 grams in 50 mL = 10%

• The percentage or ratio strength decreases as the quantity of

solution increases (active ingredient remains constant)

• The converse is also true

• Stock solutions: are concentrated solutions of active (e.g. drug) or inactive (e.g.

colorant) substances and are used by pharmacists as a convenience to prepare solutions

of lesser concentrations.

• Example(1): How many milliliters of a 1:400 w/v stock solution should be used to

make 4 liters of a 1 : 2000 w/v solution?

• 1:400 = 0.25% and 1: 2000 = 0.05% and 4 liters = 4000 ml

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• 4000(ml) X 0.05(%) = X (ml) X 0.25(%) X = 800 ml

hydrochloride should be used in compounding the following prescription.

• R/ phenylephrine HCl 0.25%

• Rose water ad 30 ml

• Sig. For the nose

• 1 : 50 =2%

• x X 2% = 30 X 0.25% X = 3.75 ml

Dilutions and Concentrations

– by addition of diluent/solvent

– by admixture with solutions of lower strength

– By the addition of active ingredient or

– By admixture with solutions of greater strength or

– By evaporation of the diluent/solvent

• Some calculations used in pharmacy in which the strength of a diluted portion of a

solution is defined, but the strength of the concentrated stock solution used to prepare it

must be determined.

• e.g. when the pharmacist need to prepare and dispense a concentrated solution and direct

the patient to use small volume (5 ml, teaspoonful) and dilute it in a specified volume of

water.

• Example(1): How much drug should be used in preparing 50 ml of a solution such that

5 ml diluted to 500 ml will yield a 1:1000 solution?

• 1 : 1000 solution 0.5 g : 500 ml

• 0.5 g drug in 500 ml is the same amount found in 5 ml

• 0.5 5

• X 50 X=5g

• Example(2): How many milliliters of water should be added to 300 ml of a 1:750 w/v

solution of benzalkonium chloride to make a 1:2500 w/v solution?

• 1 750

• X 300 X = 0.4 g

• 1 2500

• 0.4 X X = 1000 ml 1000 – 300 = 700 ml

Problem1

an equal volume of water, what will be the ratio strength (w/v) of the

dilution?

diluted with equal amount of water , that is 100ml, then the final

volume of diluted solution will be 200 ml.

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• 100 (ml) x 0.067 % = 200 (ml) x X%

• X = 100 x 0.067 = 0.0335 %

• 200

Problem 2

evaporating 800 g of a 10% (w/w) solution to 250 g?

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• 800 g x 10 % = 250 g x X%

• X = 800 x 10 = 32 %

• 250

Problem 3

of a 50%(w/v) dextrose injection to reduce the concentration to 30%

(w/v)

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• 10 (L) x 50 % = x (L ) x 30 %

• x (L) = 10 x 50 = 16.66 L

30

Now , the amount of water of injection to be added will be 16.66 L – 10 L=

6.66L or 6660 ml

Problem 4

• How many milliliters of a 1:400 (w/v) stock solution should be used

to make 4 liters of a 1:2000 (w/v) solution?

• 1:400 = 0.25%

• 1:2000 = 0.05 %

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

X = 800 ml

Problem 5

should be used to prepare 1 liter of a 1:4000 (w/v) solution?

• 1: 50 = 2 %

• 1:4000 = 0.025 %

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

x (ml) X 2 % = 1000 (ml) X 0.025 %

X = 12.5 ml

Problem 6

its volume, what percent (w/v) of sucrose will it contain?

If we evaporate 100 ml of syrup to 85% of its volume, we will have 85

ml.

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• 65% X100 (ml) = x (%) X 85 ml

• X = 76.47 %

Problem 7

solution such that 5 mL diluted to 500 mL will yield a 1:1000

solution?

1:1000 means 1 g of silver nitrate dissolved in 1000mlof solution

1 g in 1000ml,

X (g) in 500 ml ,

amount in 5 ml of the stronger solution .

50 ml of stronger solution will have x (g) of drug

X = 0.5 X 50 =5g

5

• Dilution of alcohol:

When water and alcohol are mixed there is a physical contraction in the resultant

volume.

• Example: How much water should be mixed with 5000 ml 85% v/v alcohol to make

50% v/v alcohol?

Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

5000(ml) X 85(%) = X (ml) X 50(%) X = 8500 ml

so enough water is added to make 8500 ml.

Dilution of Acids

percentage weight-in-weight, e.g., HCl, NF contains 36.5% w/w

• The strength of an official diluted acid is expressed as percentage

weight-in-volume, e.g., Dil HCl, NF contains 9.5% w/v

• Example: How many mls of 37% w/w HCl having a specific gravity of

1.20 are required to make 1000 ml of dil HCl 10% w/v?

• 1000 X 0.1 = 100 gm of HCl 100% in 1000 ml of 10% w/v

Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

100g X 100(%) = X (ml) X 37(%) X = 270 g of 37% acid

270/1.2 = 225 ml

Problem 8

specific gravity of 1.20 are required to make 1000 mL of diluted

hydrochloric acid 10% (w/v)?

• Dilution and concentration of solids and semisolids:

• Example: How many grams of opium containing 15% w/w of morphine and how

many grams of lactose should be used to prepare 150 g of opium containing 10% w/w

of morphine?

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

X g X 15(%) = 150g X 10(%) X = 100 g of 15% opium

150 g - 100g = 50 g of opium and 100 g of lactose

• Example: How many grams of 20% benzocaine ointment and how many grams of

ointment base (diluent) should be used in preparing 5 lb. of 2.5 % benzocaine

ointment?

• 5 lb = 454 g X 5 = 2270 g

Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

2270g X 2.5(%) = X g X 20(%) X = 283.75 or 284 g

2270 – 284 = 1986 g of ointment base

Problem 9

21.6% of water, what will be the percentage (w/w) of active

ingredient after the drug is dried?

Consider 100 g of moist crude product

In 100g , 7.2 g is active ingredient and 21.6 g is water.

Now when the crude product is dried, then the weight of crude product

Is 100 – 21.6 = 78.4 g

So , now 7.2 g of active ingredient is in 78.4 g of crude product,

So X (g) in 100 g of crude product,

X = 7.2 X 100 = 9.18 %

78.4

• Alligation

• Arithmatical method of solving problems that involves the mixing of

solutions or mixtures of solids possessing different percentage strengths.

• Alligation medial

• A method by which the weighted average percentage strength of a mixture of two

or more substances of known quantity and concentration may be easily calculated.

• Example: what is the percentage (v/v) of alcohol in a mixture of 300 ml 40% (v/v)

alcohol and 100 ml 60% (v/v) alcohol ?

Qt = 300+100 = 400 ml

300 X 40 + 100 X 60 = 400 X Ct

Ct = 18000/400 = 45 %

Dilution, Concentration and Alligation

Alligation

• Alligation alternate

• A method by which we may calculate the number of parts of two or more components

of a given strength when they are mixed to prepare a mixture of desired strength. A

final proportion permits us to translate relative parts to any specific denomination.

• Example: In what proportion should alcohol 95% and 55% strengths be mixed to make

70% alcohol?

• 95% 15 parts (95%)

• 70%

Problem 10

ointment be mixed with an ointment base

to produce a 2.5% benzocaine ointment?

17.5 parts of ointment base(0 %)

Problem 11

• A hospital pharmacist wants to use three lots of ichthammol

ointment containing, respectively, 50%, 20%, and 5% ichthammol. In

what proportion should they be mixed to prepare a 10% ichthammol

ointment?

• Hint: The two lots containing more (50% and 20 %) than the desired

percentage may be separately linked to lot containing less (5 %)

than the desired percentage.

• Ans: 1:1:10

Problem 12

(w/v) solution to make a solution such that 25 mL diluted to 100 mL

will yield a 1:4000 dilution?

• 1:4000 means 0.025%, that is 0.025g of drug in 100 ml of diluted

solution, which is also the same amount in 25 ml of concentretated

solution.

• Now, if 0.025 g is in 25 ml, then

• 0.8 g is in X ml,

X = 0.8 x 25 = 800ml,

0.025

• So, amount of water to be added will be 800 – 100 = 700 ml

Problem 13

• The formula for a buffer solution contains 1.24% (w/v) of boric acid. How

many milliliters of a 5% (w/v) boric acid solution should be used to obtain

the boric acid needed in preparing 1 liter of the buffer solution?

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• X = 248 ml

Problem 14

hydrocortisone cream, what is the final percentage strength of

hydrocortisone in the product?

• 5 % w/w means 5 g of hydrocortisone in 100 g of drug,

• so x g will be in 60 g of hydrocortisone cream.

• so X = 3 g.

• That means in 60 g of 5 % (w/w) hydrocortisone cream, there is 3 g

of drug.

• Now, if pharmacist adds 3 g of hydrocortisione to this 60 g cream,

then total weight of cream will be 63 g and amount of hydrocortisone

will be a total of 6 g.

• So, there is 6 g of drug in 63 g in ointment ,

• i.e 9.52 % (w/w)

Problem 15

• Rx

Castor Oil 5.0 mL

Euresol 15.0 mL

Alcohol 85% ad 240.0 mL

How many milliliters each of 95% (v/v) alcohol and water should be

used in preparing the prescription?

• From the total volume of the prepration (240 ml), the volume of castor oil and euresol accounts for (5 +15 =

20 ml), so the remaining amount of diluent to be added is (240 – 20 = 220 ml)

• Q1 X C1 = Q2 X C2

• x (ml) X 95(%) = 220 ml X 85 (%)

• X = 196.8 ml.

• So we need to add 196.84 ml of alcohol and q.s with water to 240 ml

Problem 16

mL. A physician wants to increase the phenobarbital content to 30

mg per teaspoonsful and to prescribe the dose twice a day for 24

days. How many milligrams of phenobarbital should be added to the

prescribed volume of the prescription to provide the amount needed

for the dosage regimen?

• Needed strength: 30 mg per 5 ml (1 teaspoonful)

• It has to be given twice a day for 24 days, so in total the required

prescription is 240ml which should have 1440mg of drug.

so, required prescription is 1440mg/240ml

960mg in 240 ml.

480 mg

Problem 17

of a ¼% hydrocortisone cream?

• 2 lb = 2 x 454 g = 908 g

• ¼ % = 0.25 %

• 0.25 g in 100 g

• X g in 908 g

• X = 2.27 g

Problem 18

mL of a solution such that 10 mL diluted to a liter will yield a 1:5000

solution?

• So, for 1000ml, x g should be dissolved.

• X = 1000/5000 = 0.2 g

• This means that 0.2 g drug should be dissolved in 1000ml, which is

also the same amount dissolved in 10 ml of stronger solution

• 10 ml of stronger solution ------ 0.2 g of drug

• 500 ml of stronger solution------- x g of drug

• X = 0.2 x 500 = 10 g

• 100

Case #1

• A pharmacist received a prescription for 100 mL of a cefuroxime axetil suspension to contain 300 mg of drug in each 5 mL.

The pharmacist has 100 mL of a suspension containing 250 mg/5 mL and also has 250-mg scored tablets of the drug. How

many tablets should be pulverized and added to the suspension to achieve the desired strength? Assume no increase in the

volume of the suspension.

• Cefuroxime axetil present in original suspenison:

• 100ml x 250mg = 5000mg

5 ml

Cefuroxime axetil required in strengthened suspension:

5 ml

Now, 1 tablet contains 250 mg , so to add 1000 mg , we need 4x 250 , that is 4 tablets

A second Look

• The pharmacist observed that after adding the pulverized tablets, the suspension

measured 102 mL in volume. Calculations revealed that rather than the prescribed

drug strength of 300 mg/5 mL, there were 294.1 mg/5 mL. What should the

pharmacist do to bring the suspension to the desired strength?

6000mg + 250 mg = 6250 mg

Volume of suspension that could be prepared at a concentration of 300 mg /5ml:

5ml x 6250 mg = 104.17 ml

300 mg

Volume to dispense: 100 ml and volume to discard: 4.17 ml

Case #2

• Rx

Hydrocortisone 0.6%

AQUAPHOR q.s. ad 15 g

Sig: Apply to child’s affected area t.i.d.

hydrocortisone cream, 1%. How many grams each of hydrocortisone cream and Aquaphor should be used in filling the

prescription?

x g in 15 g of ointment,

X = 0.6 x 15 = 0.09 g

100

1 % hydrocortisone cream means 1 g of hydrocortisone in 100 g of ointment,

0.09 g of hydrocortisone in X g of ointment ,

X = 0.09 x 100/1 = 9 g ,

So 9 g of hydrocortisone cream and 15-9 = 6 g of Aquaphor

References:

• Pharmaceutical Calculations, 13th edition

by Howard C. Ansel.

• Dr. Mohammad Habib’s lecture notes.

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