Qualitative Analysis: How UV Spectrophotometry Can Help Identify Organic Compounds in Pharmaceuticals

Do you ever wonder what it was like in the days before prescription medications and pharmaceuticals? I envision the old western movies, where clenched teeth and a shot of whiskey were your only options for pain relief. Lucky for us, today’s pharmaceuticals utilize organic compounds that have proven to block specific pain receptors. However, without qualitative analysis of these compounds using UV spectrophotometry, dangerous levels can become toxic to the human body, causing serious damage to internal organs or even death.

IV drip UV Spectrophotometry
UV spectrophotometers can analyze the organic compounds in pharmaceuticals today. The qualitative information that is provided assures patient health and safety.
Image Source: Flickr user Olivia Barrie

Qualitative analysis of organic compounds can be achieved through the simple process of UV spectrophotometry. UV spectrophotometers measure the visible regions of ultraviolet light and can provide valuable information about the levels of active ingredients present in pharmaceutical compounds, as well as detect any impurities. By measuring the absorption of UV radiation of light, spectrophotometric analysis can quantify these levels at a highly accurate rate.

Applications of UV spectrophotometry in pharmaceuticals

Qualitative analysis through spectrophotometric methods achieves fast and accurate results using only small sample quantities. This fast and effect instrumentation has become an essential tool in the pharmaceutical industry thanks to its adaptability and economic value. Qualitative analysis has proven highly useful in many major forms of organic compounds and helps to ensure patient health and safety.

tylenol UV Spectrophotometry
Paracetamol or acetaminophen is a common over-the-counter drug used in many pharmaceutical applications. Quantitative analysis ensures that proper levels are used for the intended drug applications.
Image Source: Flickr user Michelle Tribe

One of the most common medications used around the world is Paracetamol. Paracetamol, or acetaminophen, is a common over-the-counter medication and also found in many prescriptive drugs. More commonly referred to Tylenol, this active pain relief ingredient is generally safe to use when taken as directed. However, acute overdose of Paracetamol can be potentially fatal and its toxicity is the leading cause of liver failure in most of the Western world. Qualitative analysis assures that the measurement process of active ingredients is precise and free of impure compounds. The results from these methods provide data that can be used for quality control and consistency in product formulation. Having precise and accurate results assures that proper dosage and measurements are used for the intended applications.

The applications of quantitative analysis through spectroscopy allow for pharmaceutical researchers to clearly identify and compare organic compounds to ensure that the drug molecules are properly absorbed by the body and distributed to the right places. From the identification of active ingredients or protein analysis, each component of pharmaceutical research depends on spectrophotometers to provide qualitative analysis and exact drug formulations.

various pills UV Spectrophotometry
Spectral analysis can provide a wide array of qualitative and bioanalytical tests. This information ensures that the proper organic compound molecule are released in the body at exactly the right rate.
Image Source: Flickr user e-Magine Art

UV Spectrophotometry and Instrumentation

UV Spectrophotometry is the best method available for identification and comparison of organic compounds. The pharmaceutical industry relies on spectrophotometric analysis for a variety of applications and choosing the right instrumentation is essential for consistent and quality results. At HunterLab we specialize in the pharmaceutical research and color measurement instrumentation that has been uniquely developed to meet the needs of this industry. Our expert team works together with leading research and laboratory specialist to develop the best instrumentation for each unique application. Our support staff is here to make the process of color measurement and qualitative analysis both effective and easy. Contact HunterLab today to learn more about instrumentation options and our role in the pharmaceutical industry.

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