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Lactose-Free Medicines

Have you seen an increase in requests for lactose and/or gluten-free medicines? Are you concerned that people may be being prescribed risky unlicensed specials because of misplaced anxiety about the possible effects of very small amounts of lactose or gluten in medicines?

The Specialist Pharmacy Service is here to help. Their suite of resources on lactose in medicines and their guide to gluten in medicines should help:

  • identify licensed lactose-free medicines, and
  • put the issues into proportion
    • very small amounts of lactose in medicines
      • less lactose from typical daily medicines intake than found in one cup of milky tea
      • such low level exposure not expected to cause any symptoms for the majority of people with lactose intolerance
    • proteins removed from pharmaceutical quality wheat starch in medicines
      • the EMA concluded that the trace amounts of gluten that remain are acceptable for patients with coeliac disease