Ethyl cinnamate/montmorillonite intercalation complexes were obtained by gaseous adsorption of the drug on the clay surface. They were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, differential thermal and thermogravimetric analyses and by visible-UV and IR spectroscopies. It was found that after 1 day of adsorption, most of the drug enters the interlayer space of the clay by substitution of water molecules, and is removed only after heating at high temperature. In addition, a portion is physisorbed on the external surface of the crystallites, being removed easily below 100°C. The interlayer complex improves the protecting ability of the pure clay or the pure drug against ultraviolet radiation, specially in the so-called ‘C’ range (290–190 nm).