• July 11, 2024

The pharmaceutical industry has different types of glass containers to pack various dosage forms. Learn about Glass containers, their types, and applications of glass containers in pharmaceuticals

Glass containers in pharmaceuticals are a common packaging component of the pharmaceutical industry. It is known for its specialized characteristics that help retain and protect the pharmaceutical product. There are different types of glass containers in the pharma industry, depending upon various factors such as product and its application.

Types of glass containers
There are different types of glass containers in pharmaceutical industry to fill the required dosage form


The pharmaceutical product comes in direct contact with the glass containers and, are called primary packaging material. They are mainly used to pack oral and parenteral dosage forms. The glass container is sealed with elastomer closure, such as Aluminum for some dosage forms.

The selection of a specific glass container depends upon many factors, such as product type, protection required, processing area, regulatory requirements such as the United States FDA, and compatibility of the container’s material with the pharma product.

Glass containers in pharmaceuticals are used to fill

  • Injectable in Vials and Ampoules.
  • Oral Dosage Solid and Liquid in Bottles
  • Glass syringes for various purposes.


Advantages of types of glass containers

Let’s look at some benefits of glass containers

Resistant to high temperatures

Glass containers are resistant to high temperatures and easily protect the product inside. Their chemical composition makes them perfect insulators and prevents the outside temperature from affecting the pharma product inside the glass container.

Chemically inert

The chemical composition of glass containers makes them immune to various chemical compounds. Glass containers are also surface treated, decreasing the glass’s ability to reach the pharma product to form any substance. This prevents deterioration or change in pharma products’ specifications.

Similarly, pharma product specifications do not affect glass containers to change specifications.

Harsh environment

The glass container’s molecules are highly stable and can bear the harshest environmental conditions, such as high temperature, pressure, and humidity. As mentioned above, the bond between glass molecules remains strong and withstands various external stresses. This feature presents a glass container as an excellent choice for preventing leaks.

Ease of Sterilization

Glass containers such as Autoclave and Dry Heat Sterilizer can be easily used in sterilizing applications. The temperature for sterilization in this equipment is more significant than 100°C, which the glass container can easily tolerate.

Types of glass containers in pharmaceuticals

There are three basic types of glass containers used for pharmaceutical applications. The classification is made based on United States and European pharmacopeias. The manufacturer is responsible for selecting a suitable glass container for its product and ensuring that the container is not affected by the chemical composition of the pharma product.

Glass containers are classified into Types I, II & III. Let’s discuss each Type briefly

Type – I

Types – I glass is manufactured from boric acid, aluminum oxide, and alkaline oxides and is commonly called Borosilicate glass. This glass type has high hydrolytic resistance. Hydrolytic is a chemical decomposition process in which chemical bond breaks and internal structure is destroyed. It occurs at elevated operating conditions such as high temperature and pressure for glass containers.

Type – I also has high thermal shock resistance, which means it can withstand sudden temperature changes and prevents structural changes such as glass breakage, cracking, and dismantling.

Types – I glass containers suit most parenteral and oral solid dosage forms.

Type – II

Types II glass is suitable for acidic parenteral and non-parenteral products. Also called Soda – Lime glass, they have high hydrolytic resistance.

The high resistance is produced by treating the inner surface with Sulphur, creating a Sodium Sulfate surface. Type II glasses are cheaper and softer than Type – I glass containers.

Type – III

Types – III glass containers are normal soda lime glasses with average chemical properties. They are untreated types and do not provide extraordinary protective features like Type I & Type II. For this purpose, Type–III glasses are not used for packing parenteral drugs. They can only be used for non-aqueous drugs and not for alkali product types.

Applications of types of glass containers in pharmaceuticals

Common  applications of types of glass containers in pharmaceuticals include Ampoules/ Vials and Bottles

Ampoules / Vials

Ampoules are sealed containers to contain pharma products. It provides air-tight conditions and prevents contamination and intrusion of foreign bodies into the container. They are made in the open-neck form, then sealed by a flame in an ampoule filling machine.

After sealing, ampoules are opened by scrapping the neck. Glass ampoules are used to store injectables in the pharmaceutical industry and come in sizes of 1ml, 2ml, 3ml, 5ml,10ml,15ml, and 20ml.

Vials are small glass containers in varying sizes. They are used to store liquid and solid parenteral drugs. They are sealed by either stopper ( or cork) or a threaded cap.

Glass bottles

Glass bottles are containers with visible necks and flat bottoms, mainly used for solid oral dosages. They come in varying sizes – commonly from 15m to 250 ml.


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