If you have food allergies, you'll know how difficult it can be to find safe medication when you get sick. Some drugs have non-allergenic versions available, but this isn't the case for many, and it's not always easy to determine exactly what's in prescribed medication. Food products can be used as inactive ingredients to improve the form or the shelf-life of some drugs. So what can you do when you need medication that contains an ingredient you are allergic to? Compounding pharmacists have been specially trained to be able to alter the ingredients in some drugs without changing the concentration of the active ingredient. Here's an overview of food allergens commonly used in prescription medication and how a compounding service can make these drugs safe for you:
Food Allergens In Prescription Drugs
Pills contain ingredients that act as binders and help the pills retain their shape, and lactose and gelatine are commonly used binders. Intramuscular and intravenous preparations need an emulsifier to stop the ingredients in the liquid from separating, and egg protein can be used for this purpose. Additionally, soy is present in the form of soy lecithin in some inhalers prescribed for asthma.
Two Ways A Compounding Pharmacist Can Help
A compounding pharmacy can make your medication safe for you to take by substituting an ingredient or changing the form of the medication to prevent the need for the problematic ingredient. Binders and emulsifiers can often be replaced without affecting the active ingredient. For example, carnauba wax can usually be used in place of lactose, and when an ingredient is removed or replaced in an oral solution, the form of the medication doesn't usually have to be changed. When an ingredient needs to be replaced in pills, the form usually does have to change. The active ingredient can be suspended in an oral solution when this is the case, and if you dislike the taste of the medication, your pharmacist can add flavouring to make it more palatable.
Your doctor can give you details of pharmacies that offer a compounding service in your area. The pharmacist will be happy to discuss the options for your specific medication and can answer any questions you have, such as whether the shelf life of your medication will be affected. A pharmacy that offers compounding services can take longer to prepare your prescription than a standard pharmacy would, so allow them at least a few days when you hand over your prescription.