Liquid paraffin (drug)

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Liquiduim paraffinium
Clinical data
  • US: C (Risk not ruled out)
Routes of
Topical, oral
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
CAS Number
PubChem SID
  • none
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.438
Chemical and physical data
Formula C

Medicinal liquid paraffin, also known as paraffinum liquidum, is a very highly refined mineral oil used in cosmetics and for medical purposes. This is a UK definition (British Pharmacopoeia) and the term may have different uses in other countries. The cosmetic or medicinal liquid paraffin should not be confused with the paraffin (or kerosene) used as a fuel.

The term paraffinum perliquidum is sometimes used to denote light liquid paraffin. Conversely, the term paraffinum subliquidum is sometimes used to denote a thicker (more viscous/oily) mineral oil.

Usage and side effects[edit]

Liquid paraffin is considered to have a limited usefulness as an occasional laxative, but is unsuitable for regular use as it can seep from the anus and cause irritation.[citation needed] It can also interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins[citation needed], be absorbed into the intestinal wall[citation needed], and may cause foreign-body granulomatous reactions.[citation needed] If it enters the lungs, it can cause lipoid pneumonia.[1]

Liquid paraffin is also used in combination with magnesium as an osmotic laxative, sold under the trade name Mil-Par (among others).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alan Nathan. Non-prescription medicines. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006 [cited October 8, 2011]. ISBN 978-0-85369-644-5. p. 68.
  2. ^ "Magnesium & Liquid Paraffin". Patient UK.