Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Clearer labels needed on drugs containing animal products

Date:
February 4, 2014
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Patients with specific dietary restrictions may be unwittingly taking medicines containing animal products, suggests an article published.

Dr Kinesh Patel and Dr Kate Tatham say most medications prescribed in primary care contain animal derived products and it is unclear whether they are suitable for vegetarians.

They call for improved labeling, similar to those on food, to help inform doctors, pharmacists and patients about the content of medicines. And they stress that concerned patients should not stop taking their medication without consulting their doctor first.

Specific dietary preferences regarding animal products in food are common in the general population. Influences such as religion, culture, economic status, environmental concern, food intolerances, and personal preferences all play a part in the foods that people choose to consume.

Yet many patients and doctors are unaware that commonly prescribed drugs contain animal products -- and simply reading the list of ingredients will not make it clear whether the product meets the patient's dietary preferences.

Problem ingredients include lactose (often extracted using bovine rennet), gelatine (sourced from cows, pigs and occasionally fish) and magnesium stearate (traditionally sourced from cows, pigs and sheep) although some manufacturers now use vegetarian alternatives.

Last year a campaign to vaccinate children in Scotland against influenza was halted because of concern in the Muslim community about pork gelatine within the vaccine.

Even though the absolute levels of animal products in many medications are likely to be minimal, the authors say doctors need to consider this when prescribing "to avoid non-adherence, which is a major healthcare concern."

To ascertain the scale of the problem, they identified the 100 most commonly prescribed drugs in UK primary care in January 2013. Of these, 73 contained one or more of lactose, gelatine, or magnesium stearate. But they found that information on the origins of the contents was difficult to obtain, unclear, inconsistently reported, and sometimes incorrect.

"Our data suggest that it is likely that patients are unwittingly ingesting medications containing animal products with neither prescriber nor dispenser aware," they write.

They call for improved drug labeling, mirroring those standards advised for food. However, they acknowledge it is unlikely that any labeling standard could address all dietary requirements, "and the ultimate solution would be to eliminate animal derived products where possible from medications."

They point out that lactose is already produced by some manufacturers without using rennet, magnesium stearate can be made chemically without animal ingredients and vegetarian capsules to replace gelatine are already available.

"Although vegetarian friendly ingredients may be more expensive than those produced by traditional processes, the costs would diminish as production expanded and they would limit the exposure of patients to products they find unacceptable," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Clearer labels needed on drugs containing animal products." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204185641.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2014, February 4). Clearer labels needed on drugs containing animal products. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204185641.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Clearer labels needed on drugs containing animal products." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204185641.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins