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People With Food Allergies Must Be Vigilant When Taking Over-the-Counter (OTC) and Prescription Drugs

Regular Over-the- Counter (OTC) and Prescription Drugs may contain trace amounts of food allergens.

Do you know that drugs that contain lactose or lactose monohydrate contain milk protein? Be on the look out for INACTIVE Ingredients "lactose" and "lactose monohydrate" in Supplements, OTC or Prescription drugs, since it contains dairy/milk protein.

When dealing with severe milk/dairy allergies, I always ask the pharmacist to provide the list of inactive ingredients. Even when a doctor knows of you or your child's allergies, you may still be prescribed one which contains the allergen, so it is important to read the inactive ingredients. The inactive ingredients will be listed following the active ingredients. You may also call the drug manufacturer to find out what is listed in the INACTIVE INGREDIENTS. 

I found out the hard way that over-the-counter (OTC) and Prescription Drugs can contain food allergens:

In my personal experience, my son who is severely allergic to milk/dairy has on multiple occasions and with different doctors been prescribed medications which contain lactose. Also, my son must be careful with drugs that contain "flavorings," which can also contain trace amounts of dairy/milk or other allergens. My experience is that manufacturers do not tell you that, for example, trace amounts of milk protein may be in the ingredient "flavorings" or in an ingredient that has "lactose" such as "lactose monohydrate" or "lactose anhydrous" that can cause allergic reactions for some severely allergic individuals.

I have found that my son is not able to ingest the allergen in a medication in trace amounts without having a reaction, usually involving vomiting and coughing. I have checked the inactive ingredients at and searched by typing in the name of the drug. For my son's dairy/milk allergy, he must stay away from any drug containing lactose, lactose monohydrate, lactose anhydrous, and "flavorings." A lot of tablet forms and suspensions do contain milk protein and other allergens.

The following is a list of drug products, both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs, containing allergens. This is NOT in any way a complete list of drugs that contain allergens. Drug manufacturers are NOT required by law to list the top eight allergens in their ingredients lists. Trace amounts of food allergens can end up "HIDDEN" in the inactive ingredients and may be listed as  "flavorings." Lactose, lactose monohydrate, lactose anhydrous, and some "flavorings" contain dairy/milk protein. These allergens may or may not cause a reaction depending on your severity of your food allergens.   

       Allergen Name or type of Medication  Manufacturer       
           Milk                              Oral steroids   --   tablet form
Milk        Omnicef oral suspension, 125mg/5ml  Ceph International for Abbot Lab
Milk        Advair inhalation mdi             
Egg         Propital Anesthesia used during surgery  
Milk        Zithromax Oral Suspension and tablet form 200mg/5ml  Pfizer Inc 
Soy and Milk Bendryl Fastmelt tablet*    Healthcare, Morris Plains, NJ
Milk         Benadryl Kapseal Capsule*
Milk         Relenza oral inhalation
Milk         Singulair tablet 
Milk         Phenergan tablet**
Milk        generic: Promethegan tablet         
As of 2011, according to the drug manufacturers' Inactive Ingredients lists, the following products do NOT contain the allergens listed: 
*Benadryl Quick Dissolve Strips do NOT contain either milk or soy.
*Benadryl Allergy ULTRATAB TABLETS do NOT contain milk.
**Phenergan--the suppository, injection, and IV forms do NOT list lactose or lactose monohydrate
as an inactive ingredient, and therefore, should NOT contain milk.

I check ingredients on to search for prescription drugs' inactive ingredients, however I always double check with the manufacturer to determine that the information is current.

Disclaimer: Only you can determine if an over-the-counter or prescription drugs listed are truly safe for a severely food allergic individual. Any and all information taken from this website must be verified by you to determine if it is accurate. Products referenced on this website rely solely on the manufacturers' letter / ingredient label as to the ingredient/s or absence of ingredient/s and cross-contamination or absence of cross-contamination of their products. NOTE: This site does not certify any products to be free of trace food allergens. We do NO independent testing nor do we rely on others to independently verify information we receive from the manufacturer.

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional treatment or diagnosis. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.