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Cholesterol occurs as white or faintly yellow, almost odorless, pearly leaflets

Cholesterol occurs as white or faintly yellow, almost odorless, pearly leaflets, needles, powder, or granules. On prolonged exposure to light and air, cholesterol acquires a yellow to tan color.

Nonproprietary Names

  • BP: Cholesterol
  • JP: Cholesterol
  • PhEur: Cholesterol
  • USP-NF: Cholesterol

Synonyms: Cholesterin; cholesterolum.

Chemical Name and CAS Registry Number: Cholest-5-en-3b-ol [57-88-5]

Empirical Formula and Molecular Weight: C27H46O 386.67

Functional Category: Emollient; emulsifying agent.

Applications in Pharmaceutical Formulation or Technology

Cholesterol is used in cosmetics and topical pharmaceutical formulations at concentrations of 0.3–5.0% w/w as an emulsifying agent. It imparts water-absorbing power to an ointment and has emollient activity. Cholesterol also has a physiological role. It is the major sterol of the higher animals, and it is found in all body tissues, especially in the brain and spinal cord. It is also the main constituent of gallstones.

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