Carrageenan and Its Applications in Drug Delivery

Carbohydr Polym. 2014 Mar 15;103:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.12.008. Epub 2013 Dec 11.


Carrageenan is a sulphated linear polysaccharide of D-galactose and 3, 6-anhydro-D-galactose obtained by extraction of certain red seaweeds of the Rhodophyceae class. The objective of this review is to summarize recent applications of carrageenan in drug delivery systems. So far, carrageenan has been investigated as an excipient in pharmaceutical industry, for example, as polymer matrix in oral extended-release tablets, as a novel extrusion aid for the production of pellets and as a carrier/stabilizer in micro/nanoparticles systems. Moreover, based on the special characteristics of carrageenan such as the strong negative charge and gelling, it has been used as a gelling agent/viscosity enhancing agent for controlled drug release and prolonged retention. Furthermore, carrageenan has been used for tissue regeneration with therapeutic biomacromolecules and for cell delivery. Other potential applications and safety evaluation of carrageenan are still to be undertaken in the near future.

Keywords: Carrageenan; Drug delivery; Drug release; Hydrogel; Pharmaceutical excipient; Polysaccharide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrageenan / chemistry*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Regeneration
  • Rhodophyta / chemistry


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Carrageenan