9 reasons to check inactive ingredients in oral meds

US researchers find most medicines contain ingredients known to cause allergy or exacerbate intolerances

Almost all oral medications contain at least one inactive ingredient known to cause an allergic reaction in susceptible patients, an investigation by US academics has found.

Inspired to act when a patient with coeliac disease became sick after taking a PPI containing gluten, the team, led by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, set out to determine how many drugs contain potential allergens.

Their analysis of a database of 42,000 oral medications and other data has unearthed nine key findings, published in Science Translational Medicine:

  1. An average tablet contains 280mg of excipient and just 164mg of active pharmaceutical ingredient.
  2. Older patients taking 10 medications could be ingesting 2.8g of excipient a day or more depending on their dose. 
  3. Almost 93% of all solid medications contain