Gluten, lac­tose in drugs? Study raises ques­tions about risk

Sun.Star Pampanga - - HEALTH! -

even a small amount can add up, the re­searchers re­ported in the jour­nal Sci­ence Trans­la­tional Medicine.

The re­port found: —About 45 per­cent of the an­a­lyzed med­i­ca­tions con­tained lac­tose. The amounts may be too small for some lac­to­sein­tol­er­ant peo­ple to no­tice, but some­one tak­ing com­mon drugs for high blood pres­sure and choles­terol could get about a gram a day.

—A third of med­i­ca­tions con­tained a food dye as­so­ci­ated with al­ler­gic re­ac­tions.

—More than half con­tained at least one type of sugar that peo­ple with ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome are sup­posed to avoid.

—In a re­cent sur­vey, 18 per­cent of man­u­fac­tur­ers said their med­i­ca­tions con­tain gluten, which can cause se­vere re­ac­tions if pa­tients with celiac dis­ease con­sume as lit­tle as 1.5 mil­ligrams a day. But la­bels may list only in­nocu­ous “starch.”

That’s what hap­pened when a pa­tient of Traverso’s ex­pe­ri­enced wors­en­ing celiac symp­toms af­ter us­ing a com­mon stom­ach acid-block­ing drug, omepra­zole. Traverso had to call the man­u­fac­turer to learn that par­tic­u­lar for­mu­la­tion con­tained starch made from wheat.

Be­cause re­fills can bring a dif­fer­ent com­pany’s for­mu­la­tion, pa­tients should check the la­bel each time, he added.

Pa­tients shouldn’t be alarmed, cau­tioned one al­lergy ex­pert not in­volved with the re­port.

“It is cer­tainly true that there are re­ports of al­ler­gic re­ac­tions to resid­ual food pro­teins in med­i­ca­tions,” said Dr. Rox­anne Oriel of the Mount Si­nai Jaffe Food Al­lergy In­sti­tute in New York. But, “these types of al­ler­gic re­ac­tions are quite rare.”

Of­ten the amount is too low to trig­ger a re­ac­tion, plus sub­stances like soy­bean oil are re­fined to re­move the al­lergy-caus­ing pro­tein be­fore they’re used in medicines, she added.

Still, man­u­fac­tur­ers of drugs made with re­fined peanut oil, such as some ver­sions of the hor­mone pro­ges­terone, of­ten put an al­lergy warn­ing on the la­bel.

The is­sue is get­ting some at­ten­tion. A pend­ing Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­posal rec­om­mends adding gluten in­for­ma­tion to drug la­bels.

And the stan­dard-set­ting U.S. Phar­ma­copeia has a panel study­ing how elec­tronic health records could help doc­tors and phar­ma­cists bet­ter iden­tify pa­tients who need to avoid a cer­tain in­gre­di­ent.

“It can be frus­trat­ing for pa­tients” to find the in­for­ma­tion, said Ger­ald McEvoy of the American So­ci­ety of Health-Sys­tem Phar­ma­cists, a mem­ber of that panel.

Wease ASHINGTON (AP) — A man with celiac dis felt sicker af­ter start­ing a new drug, but it wasn’t a typ­i­cal side ef­fect. It turns out the pills were mixed with gluten the pa­tient knew to avoid in food — but was sur­prised to find hid­ing in medicine.

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