Lactose Intolerant? Check your Medication

Lactose Intolerant? Check your Medication

These figures might surprise you – they certainly did us – it’s estimated that lactose is an ingredient in 15-20% of medications prescribed by a doctor and up to 7% of medications that can be purchased over the counter at your local community pharmacy.

For people with severe lactose intolerance, this information may be concerning, especially those managing other ailments requiring a range of pills and tablets. While the amount of lactose contained in most medications is very small, it has the potential to build up and cause problems for people with severe lactose in tolerance who are taking lactose-containing medications multiple times a day over a long period of time.

Why is lactose added to medication?

The lactose added to medication is used as a filler, to improve the texture or swallowability of the pill or tablet. It makes tablets easier to compress and is also used as a diluent in dry-powder inhalations.

 It has no medicinal value, and is essentially not necessary for your drug to do the job it’s supposed to do. In fact it’s so not necessary that a compounding pharmacist can safely make up any medication, free from lactose, without any change to the medicine’s pharmaceutics.

Which medications contain lactose?

There are many different kinds of medications that may contain lactose including:

  • Medications to treat stomach complaints including acid reflux and flatulence
  • Some calcium supplements
  • Birth control pills
  • Sexual dysfunction medication
  • Insomnia medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anxiety medications.

How can I tell if my medication has lactose?

You can tell if your medication contains lactose simply by reading the label on the bottle or packet. Look for word such as:

  • lactose hydrous
  • lactose anhydrous
  • lactose monohydrate
  • lactose spray-dried.

What should I do if my medicine contains lactose?

If you discover that your medication contains lactose and you have concerns that it may be detrimental for your health, there is a simple, inexpensive and convenient solution. With a script from your prescribing doctor, a compounding pharmacists can make up your medication, from scratch, without the allergy-triggering lactose fillers.

In most cases this can be done within two days of ordering and costs no more than your regular prescription medication.

Note from National Custom Compounding: In consultation with your doctor, we can make up medications free from lactose. For more information and no obligation advice contact us on 1300 731 755 or

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