Medications

Bec over at Corn Allergy Girl has put together a list of hidden corn in Medical Supplies and Equipment.  Familiarize yourself with this list.

Where’s the corn in Medical Equipment/Supplies?

Most pills, tablets, or capsules you obtain from your pharmacist can (and will) contain a corn derivative, the same is true for liquid medications.  The inactive ingredient additions are called excipients and they are added for many reasons (binder, filler, stabilizer, sweetener, preservatives, etc.).  Below is a more detailed explanation of excipients from www.wisegeek.com.

“An inactive ingredient may facilitate the absorption of a drug into the body, or slow the rate at which a drug is absorbed, in the form of a time release coating which allows the drug to dissolve slowly. Other excipients may make drugs physically easier to swallow, or facilitate the breakdown of the drug once it reaches the right area of the body. Excipients can also act as binders, holding the ingredients in a drug together so that it can be dispensed properly.

Some drugs tend to separate or lose efficacy if they are kept in storage, in which case the excipient may act as a preservative to keep the drug potent. Other drugs lose action quickly when they are blended with an excipient, in which case the active and inactive ingredients may be packaged separately and blended as needed. This is common with drugs utilized in intravenous administration, which often come in the form of powders which must be mixed with intravenous fluids for administration.

Inhalers, sprays, and creams utilize excipients for their delivery method. Inhalers, for example, contain propellants which aerosolize the drug and make sure that it is delivered evenly, while topical creams are typically made with an inactive cream base to which the active ingredients are added.”

I gave up on pharmacists at the chain drugstores knowing anything about corn derivatives in my medication when I was told (on multiple occasions), “This medication does not contain corn.  Corn is not listed ANYWHERE on the packaging.”  That last sentence was untrue, by the way.  It was just written in teeny-tiny print on the extra information packet.  In their defense, corn is usually not labeled.  It is up to YOU to know the different names for corn.

I found a compounding pharmacist locally and have been working with them to get medications for my family.  Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t know a thing about corn either.  I printed off Jenny Connor’s list and made sure they had a copy on file.  I have other food allergies also and many times have refused a medication because the pharmacist did not check with a company on ingredients.  My doctor (who is clueless about a corn allergy) writes prescriptions for us specifically for the compounding pharmacy.  She writes “no corn and no corn derivatives” on each prescription, unfortunately she does not write “no corn derivative.”   Again, it is my job (unfortunately) to make sure no corn derivatives or any of my other allergens are used in the preparation of my medication.

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“People with allergies need to be careful about inactive ingredients in medicine, because allergens may be involved in the production of some inactive ingredients. Corn, wheat, dairy, and eggs are all used to manufacture medications. ” – www.wisegeek.com

The only problem I have had at the compounding pharmacy is with getting safe diphenhydramine.  They wanted me to take over-the-counter benadryl because “there is a safe corn-free option available” and they cannot compound if a safe option is available.  SO…..I called McNEIL-PPC, Inc to inquire about their “safe, corn-free” Children’s Benadryl Dye-free Allergy Liquid.  Here are the inactive ingredients:

The citric acid, flavors, glycerin, and sorbitol solution are DERIVED FROM CORN.  The lady was getting upset with me by the end of the conversation because, according to her, “All of the protein has been removed so it no longer posses a threat to allergic individuals.”  Tell that to my hives, migraine, bloated stomach and joint pain, lady.  Needless to say, after this information was presented to the compounding pharmacy they filled my prescription.

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When I drop off /pick up my prescriptions, I always ask if they can skip using an excipient for the particular medication (I only use diphenhydramine and ibuprofen).  If an excipient must be used I always ask the same questions.  I refuse to willingly pay for and/or ingest something that will make me sick for weeks.

  1. What will you use as the excipient/binder?
  2. (If they don’t know)  Can you please call me when you are working on my medications so that we can ensure it doesn’t contain any of my allergens?
  3. (If a questionable ingredient is used) Did you contact the company directly to inquire about the source of _____ ingredient?
  4. (If I’m not satisfied with the answer, or if I’m given a non-answer like “the ascorbic acid is from vitamin c”) Can we please contact the company again, I’m not comfortable with this particular ingredient?

FYI, I just found out that cornstarch can be used in the manufacturing of the capsules for your medications, even if the capsule itself is not “made from corn.”  Make sure you find out how the capsule was made and if cornstarch was used in the manufacturing.

Another FYI, it takes my compounding pharmacy forever and one day to complete my prescription.  Keep that in mind.  I try to be proactive and have enough medication on hand should something happen.  I have never needed an antibiotic compounded, but I know it will take forever to get it done when and if I actually need it.

On the Delphi Forum a few individuals are using Boiron Arnica Ointment and Cortizone 10 Ointment for body pains.  These are supposedly safe and corn free however I have yet to use them.

To mitigate my allergic reactions, I drink 1 cup of filtered, clay water followed by 1 cup of filtered water.  I add 2 teaspoons of clay to 1 cup of water and shake to combine (not all of the clay will dissolve).  I order my clay from http://www.livingclayco.com.  Please be aware that they packing peanuts are made from corn.

12 thoughts on “Medications

    • IV solutions that are saline only seem to be safe, but you must ask for saline only. The typical response is to give an IV Solution containing dextrose or glucose. This happened to me. I now have “Saline Only IV” on my medic alert bracelet.

  1. You said you use the filtered clay to mitigate reactions, what type of reaction does it help you mitigate? I’m considering trying it.

    • Hi Chrissy,

      I use the calcium bentonite clay from Living Clay. Part of my reactions include face, shoulder, ankle, forearm, full body swelling, abdominal swelling, severe itching and GI issues, caused by accidental exposures including ingesting, inhaling, or using an allergen topically. The clay concoction has been the only thing, other than diphenhydramine, that helps to calm those reactions. I drink the clay every 2-3 hours and it helps to lessen my reaction time. My reactions have drawn out for weeks. Diphenhydramine can interrupt the production of milk supply and my daughter still nurses.

  2. Wow. I argued and argued with my dr last week in the hospital about dextrose. He basically told me I was an idiot. Then to top it off they poured baby powder in my bed… I was in for GI problems and I’m way worse after being released.

  3. I need to have surgery soon, and I’m scared to death of getting corn in the anesthesia. The nurses and office people I’ve talked to have been of no help so I’m insisting on speaking to the anesthesiologist before consenting to any surgery. Any suggestions? Please help. Thank you.

  4. Hi Erica,

    Do you know if there are any truly corn free probiotics (also milk and wheat free)?
    I take a probiotic by Johnson Labs, which I was informed was corn free. I do not have any reactions when I take this, like I experienced when I’ve taken other supplements that contain corn. But, several people on a corn allergy Facebook page recently informed me that “there are no corn free probiotics”. They were adament about it. Now I’m concerned. Do you know anything about this?

    I would greatly appreciate any advice that you can offer,
    Thank you!!
    Karen

    • There are really no corn-free probiotics. With that said, we take GutPro. It is grown on corn but we tolerate it well. I think tolerating a probiotic (that is excipient free) has more to do with the specific strains that are in the probiotic. We would probably not do well with probiotics that have strep strains in them. We started off with an EXTREMELY small dose, because I knew it would cause die-off/Herxheimer reaction and I didn’t want to mistake that for a corn reaction. This tactic worked well for us.

      The GutPro is tolerated well by other corn-allergic individuals that I know. They also started off with a very miniscule dose. The GutPro is not grown on milk or wheat.

      If it is excipient free and it works for you, continue it and just monitor yourself to see if you have a build up reaction. EVERYONE is different, even in the corn-free community.

      I hope that helps.

    • Naturally fermented foods like raw sauerkraut are excellent sources of natural probiotics. Up into the trillions. One can get a crock online and ferment your own very safe and healthy probiotics.

      • Fermented foods and a more traditional diet are the best ways to secure your probiotics, minerals and vitamins. Unfortunately some individuals (my daughter and myself included) have difficulty tolerating fermented foods, both homemade and definitely store-bought.

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