If you have a food allergy, you may not realize that the item to which you’re allergic may be found in more than just food. Medications can include allergens too, warnsConsumer Reports.Although medications are required to list the active ingredients prominently, the inactive ingredients, which can include soy, wheat, and other common allergens, are often included in a long list with confusing names.
The inactive ingredients in drugs approved by the FDA are almost always considered GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe.” However, sometimes the fillers and binders in a drug can be a food allergen, making them problematic for certain people. These often include sugars, which should be avoided by those with diabetes. They can also contain wheat, in the form of wheat starch (dangerous for people who are celiac or have a wheat intolerance), or various forms of soy, including soybean oil, soy protein, or soy lecithin, which should be avoided by those with a soy allergy.
How can you find out what’s in the medication you take? A prescription drug’s ingredient list will be found on the package or in a package insert. Over-the-counter drugs must list the ingredients on the outside of the box. If you have a question, ask your pharmacist. Also, be aware that the generic version of a drug often contains a slightly different list of inactive ingredients, so you’ll want to check carefully before switching between brands.