Concern over 'hidden' lactose in gastrointestinal drugs

Dr P Eadala from Llandough Hospital in Cardiff and his team have highlighted a problems of which many Foods Matter readers are already only too aware. Using a technique called high-performance liquid chromatography they assessed levels of lactose, glucose, fructose, sucrose and other sugars in a variety of drugs listed in the British National Formulary.

Analysis revealed that many of the medications studied, including proton pump inhibitors, corticosteroids, aminosalicylates and immunosuppressants, which are used to treat reflux disease, inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers and other conditions, contained levels of lactose high enough to affect those with lactose intolerance. Indeed, some combinations of medications could result in a patient consuming over 10g of lactose a day in addition to that taken in their diet.

Worryingly, doctors may not know that the medicines they prescribe contain lactose as the details of the excipients in medicines are not available in the British National Formulary (the most trusted guide used by doctors in UK).

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First published in April 2009


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