Trehalose: current use and future applications

J Pharm Sci. 2011 Jun;100(6):2020-53. doi: 10.1002/jps.22458. Epub 2011 Feb 18.


Trehalose, a disaccharide of glucose, has been reported to accumulate in many organisms that can withstand extended periods of inanimation. Since this discovery, the properties of trehalose have been examined extensively to understand its role and abundance in nature. The unique features of this sugar became clearer with each new finding which demonstrated its ability to sustain and preserve a wide array of biological molecules. Trehalose has been used in a variety of research applications and is contained in several commercially available therapeutic products, including Herceptin®, Avastin®, Lucentis®, and Advate®. Currently, there is a growing interest in the use of trehalose in solid dosage formulations, most notably in quick-dissolving tablets. Furthermore, trehalose has found its use in several food and cosmetic products, and new applications capitalizing on its unique properties are being developed and implemented in everyday-use products. As trehalose is an approved ingredient in all major markets, there is no significant barrier to its use. Extensive work with trehalose has been conducted in the three major industries, however with little overlap. Further understanding of the role of trehalose in the various applications may lead to an increase in the number of trehalose-containing products.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetics / chemistry
  • Drug Stability
  • Excipients / chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Pharmacopoeias as Topic
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / trends*
  • Trehalose / chemistry*


  • Cosmetics
  • Excipients
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Trehalose