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Active Ingredient

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Updated August 28, 2008

Definition: An active ingredient is the component of a medication responsible for the medication’s effect.
Also Known As: therapeutically active ingredient, pharmaceutically active ingredient
Examples:
The active ingredient in Zoloft, a prescription medication used to treat depression, is sertraline hydrochloride. The active ingredient in Prilosec, an over-the-counter medication used to treat GERD (heartburn), is omeprazole magnesium. The active ingredient in BJ's Allergy Medicine, an over-the-counter medication used to treat nasal allergies, is diphenhydramine HCL, which is also sold under the brand name Benadryl.

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