mgo compound name

Magnesium Oxide A Versatile Compound for Pharmaceuticals and More

Magnesium oxide, commonly referred to as MgO, is a powerful compound used in various industries. From pharmaceuticals to food additives, this versatile substance offers a range of benefits. In this article, we will explore the properties, applications, and safety considerations of magnesium oxide.

Properties of Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide exists in two forms: light magnesium oxide and heavy magnesium oxide. Both forms are fine, white, and odorless powders. The molecular formula of magnesium oxide is MgO, with a molecular weight of 40.3. It is classified as a pharmaceutical excipient and falls under the categories of anticaking agents, emulsifying agents, glidants, and tablet and capsule diluents.

Chemical Composition and Naming

The chemical name of magnesium oxide is simply “magnesium oxide.” It is also known by other names such as calcined magnesia, calcinated magnesite, Descote, E530, Magcal, and Magchem 100, to name a few. The compound’s unique identifier is UNII 3A3U0GI71G. Its CAS number is 1309-48-4.

Administration and Dosage Forms

Magnesium oxide can be administered orally and buccally. It is commonly used in the form of oral capsules, tablets, and buccal preparations. These dosage forms provide convenience and ease of use for patients.

Stability and Storage Conditions

Under normal temperatures and pressures, magnesium oxide remains stable. However, it reacts with water to form magnesium hydroxide. This compound is hygroscopic and readily absorbs water and carbon dioxide from the air. It is important to store magnesium oxide in airtight containers in cool, dry places to maintain its integrity.

Source and Preparation of Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide occurs naturally as the mineral periclase. It can also be manufactured through various processes. One method involves calcinating limestone containing dolomite, which then reacts with magnesium chloride-rich seawater to produce magnesium hydroxide and calcium chloride. The magnesium hydroxide is further calcinated to obtain magnesium oxide and water. Another process involves calcinating mined magnesite (MgCO3) to produce magnesium oxide and carbon dioxide. Purification methods, such as crushing, size separation, heavy media separation, and froth flotation, are employed to obtain high-quality magnesium oxide.

Applications of Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide finds extensive use as an alkaline diluent in solid-dosage forms. It is added to tablets to modify their pH levels and bind excess water, keeping the granulation dry. In combination with silica, magnesium oxide can serve as an auxiliary glidant. Additionally, it is used as a food additive and an antacid, either alone or in conjunction with aluminum hydroxide. Magnesium oxide is also employed as an osmotic laxative and a magnesium supplement to treat deficiency states.

Safety Considerations

Magnesium oxide is widely used in oral formulations as both an excipient and a therapeutic agent. It is generally regarded as safe when used as an excipient, although high doses may lead to adverse effects due to its laxative action. The recommended oral doses for antacid and osmotic laxative purposes are 250-500 mg and 2-5 g, respectively.


Magnesium oxide, with its diverse properties and applications, is a valuable compound in various industries, particularly pharmaceuticals. Its stability, ease of administration, and multiple benefits make it an indispensable ingredient in oral medications. Whether used as an excipient, antacid, laxative, or dietary supplement, magnesium oxide continues to play a crucial role in improving human health and well-being.

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