Asprin heart 521.
(photo credit: MCT)
I am lactose intolerant. It took me four years to find out that I have to be
very vigilant about which medicines I take. I don’t know the percentage, but I
am willing to bet that at least 50 percent of medications have a large amount of
lactose in them as a filler. Am I right? I found out that one medication I was
prescribed had 950 grams of lactose in it. Before my revelation, I couldn’t
figure out what was causing all the problems. Since then, I make the pharmacist
tell how much lactose is in anything I take. If there is some, I don’t take it
until I find a compatible substitute. Why aren’t pills made without lactose?
Surely there is a substitute such as cellulose.
pharmacist Howard Rice replies:
While I doubt if anyone knows what percentage of
lactose is used as one of the “non-active” ingredients in medication, I am sure
that it is very widely used. Lactose is a two-molecule sugar (a disaccharide)
found in milk. The reasons for its inclusion in pharmaceuticals are it is
inexpensive, easily compressible when formulating tablets, without flavor or
smell, inert so that it will not react with the active pharmaceutical ingredient
and acts as a stabilizer in the finished product. There are not many
alternatives for lactose, which is inexpensive, but the pharmaceutical industry
is working on it.
I hope that you made a typographical error when you
said that there was 950 grams of lactose in your medicine – this is almost a
kilo and if so, it would certainly create problems!
As indicated above, the
choice of material for holding the pill together depends on the active compound
and whether it will be stable with the active ingredients. There are
preparations without lactose. As you have realized, you must ask your pharmacist
to ensure that you are not taking excess amounts (if at all).
problems encountered with the formula change of the thyroid function drug
Eltroxin is a perfect example. The old formula contained lactose monohydrate,
maize starch, acacia and magnesium stearate. The new formula contains
microcrystalline cellulose, pre-gelatinized maize starch, purified talc, silicon
dioxide (colloidal anhydrous silica) and magnesium stearate. This was done to
stabilize the preparation and (it is hoped) remove the lactose because of people
such as yourself who are lactose intolerant.A friend of mine eats Greek
yogurt and keeps suggesting that I buy it too, because it supposedly is better
for your health than other yogurts. I eat plain bio yogurt every morning and am
perfectly satisfied with it. Is there anything special to Greek yogurt
related to health benefits, or is it just advertising?
--A.S., Ramat Gan Dorit
Adler, chief clinical dietitian at the Hadassah University Medical Center in
Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, answers:
I don’t know of any special proven health
benefits of what is being marketed as Greek yogurt. All yogurt began in the
Balkan region. Greek yogurt has a thicker, creamier texture than regular yogurts
because much of the liquid is drained off. This means it has less lactose but
also less calcium. The different kinds carry different beneficial microflora, of
which only few kinds were studied for their benefits. I recommend low-fat (bio)
yogurt of any type.Is there such a thing as eating too little salt
(sodium) in one’s diet and not just too much? I am 42, and as my father had
hypertension (I don’t), I learned never to add salt to food. Is this wise, or is
there a danger of having too little salt? Should I be tested?
Adumim Dr. Olga Raz, chief clinical dietitian at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical
There is plenty of salt in most foods, without adding more, so
a healthy individual does not develop sodium deficiency under normal conditions.
Only if you have diarrhea or increased perspiration or take water pills can you
develop a deficiency. You can have a blood test for sodium (Na) to be on the
safe side.Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical
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