Our Locations

With locations all over the United States, we are able to service our patients better. Feel free to contact your local pharmacy directly, or call our main line, and we will point you in the right direction.
Florida
4000 Park St N,
St. Petersburg, FL 33709
Phone 727-381-9799
Fax 727-347-2050
Hours: 9am-6pm (M-F)

New York
863 Fairmount Ave
Jamestown, NY 14701
Phone 716-484-1586
Fax 716-488-0073
Hours: 9am-5:30pm (M-F)

Pennsylvania (Erie)
2936 W 17th St,
Erie, PA 16505
Phone 814-838-2102
Fax 814-838-2103
Hours: 8:30am-6:30pm (M-F), 9am-1pm (Sat)

South Carolina
640 Congaree Rd,
Greenville, SC 29607
Phone 864-241-0477
Fax 864-241-0843
Hours: 9am-5:30pm (M-F)

Texas
10130 Louetta Rd # C,
Houston, TX 77070
Phone 281-251-0888
Fax 281-251-0889
Hours: 9am-5:30pm (M-F)

Virginia
4001 Virginia Beach Blvd #110
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Phone 757-934-0533
Fax 757-228-3991
Hours: 9am-5:30pm (M-F)

Corporate Headquarters
2535 Johns Place
Jamestown, NY 14701
Phone 716-720-5121
Fax 716-708-6248
Hours: 8:30am-5pm (M-F)

Research & Education Center
440 A Raritan Ave
Highland Park, NJ 08904
Phone 732-640-0786
Fax 732-640-0787

 

Understanding Inactive Ingredients

Understanding Inactive Ingredients

The medications may contain the ingredients that will cure the symptoms. What you don’t know is what else is in that pill. Some of the most common inactive ingredients in prescription drugs can cause side effects that you hadn’t even thought about.

 

What Are Inactive Ingredients?

 

The term “inactive ingredient” refers to the parts of the non-medicated part of the drug. These ingredients don’t decrease or increase the benefits of your medication.  These can include dyes to color the drugs, flavorings to increase the palpability, binders to help pills hold their shape, preservatives to extend the shelf life or additives that help the drug move through the human body. In short, they help the active ingredients—the medication that is therapeutic—in achieving the desired results. All commercially-produced medications contain inactive ingredients.

 

While inactive ingredients are necessary in the production of your medication, they can cause side effects. From mild irritation to major allergic reactions, look out for the inactive ingredients that are most likely to cause adverse side effects.

 

Aspartame

 

Aspartame is a commonly-used sugar replacement marketed under the names NutraSweet or Equal. This carb-free sweetener can improve the taste of medications and offset bitter tastes; this is why it’s used frequently in medications.

 

However, it’s a danger to patients who suffer from phenylketonuria (PKU). This can trigger an extremely dangerous—even deadly reaction in these patients. In addition, and more frequently reported, aspartame can trigger headaches ranging from mild to extremely painful in those patients who are predisposed to headache pain. In particular, they can trigger severe migraines.

 

If you suffer from migraines or PKU, check medication labels. You are likely to find this ingredient in most “chewable” prescription medicines.

 

Benzoates

 

Benzoates are used as an antimicrobial preservative which is added to help extend the shelf life of medications. Benzoates include benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol, potassium benzoate, and sodium benzoate. While benzoates are FDA approved, they can have serious consequences when used improperly. When combined with Vitamin C and exposed to high temperatures or prolonged exposure to light, a chemical called benzene can form. This is a known carcinogen and can cause cancer.

 

Benzyl Alcohol

 

Benzyl alcohol is a liquid that’s widely used as a preservative in injectable medications and vaccinations.  In addition, it’s found in inhalant medications commonly prescribed to asthma sufferers. It’s a preservative in these medications. Common side effects are painful itch and rashes at the injection site when injected. When inhaled, it can trigger seizures and rapid drops in patient blood pressure.

 

Lactose

 

The same lactose that you associate with dairy products is used in pharmaceutical products as a binder to hold pills. This is because, in it’s powdered form, the molecules can be highly-compressed, making it ideal for forming tablets. Lactose intolerance is not an “allergy” specifically, Instead, these patients don’t produce the enzymes necessary to digest lactose. The side effects are bouts of gas and bowel pain. While medications don’t generally contain enough lactose to trigger a bout of lactose intolerance, it largely depends on the reaction of the individual patient. If you are lactose intolerant, be aware when taking these medications. On the other hand, there are infrequent cases of people who are truly allergic to lactose. These people should avoid lactose entirely.

 

Propylene Glycol

 

Propylene Glycol is an inactive ingredient that helps to make drugs more soluble so that the medication is efficiently delivered to the within the body. While propylene glycol is a safe ingredient for most, it can have a negative impact. Most frequently, those who have reactions to propylene glycol are children.  In topical or injectable medications, children can experience rashes or blisters from this ingredient. When taken orally, there are rare occasions when children can develop respiratory issues or seizures.

 

How Do You Find Out About Inactive Ingredients?

 

If reading this has you concerned, you might be wondering about how to find out what inactive ingredients are in your medications. The solution to this is actually easier than you might think. Read the information. It’s sometimes hard to locate, but it’s literally at your fingertips…and probably gets discarded.

 

  • On over-the-counter medications, you’ll just read the label or insert inside the box. You will see a list of active ingredients, dosing information, indicated uses, warnings, and inactive ingredients.” If the inactive ingredients are not listed plainly on the label, you will find a folded-up paper inside the box. Most of us discard this. However, if you are taking a new medicine or have medication allergies, it’s a great idea to hold on to this paper.
  • For prescription medications, you will receive detailed information on every medication. It’s usually on a packet of papers stapled to the pharmacy bag. Don’t discard this information! You will receive a list of dosing instructions, uses and warnings, active and inactive ingredients, and any other expert advice the pharmacist can add. Also, keep your pharmacist updated on any medical history changes, allergies, or other crucial information. They will keep a record of this in their database to ensure that you are dispensed medications that are safe for you.

 

All of the inactive ingredients mentioned in this article are generally safe and FDA-approved. In fact, they have passed rigorous testing and trials to achieve that FDA seal. The majority of people take them without incident.  While it’s smart to know that there are certain potential side effects, most of us might not even associate a mild headache with aspartame in an over-the-counter acid reliever. It’s only after these symptoms persist, or become severe, that we think to seek medical attention. If symptoms are persistent or severe, always seek immediate medical attention.

 

7 Comments
  • Carole May Heisman
    Reply
    Posted at 2:03 am, December 16, 2018

    This information was very helpful because I do check the inactive ingredients. Seems I had been taking Propranolol 10mm for over 30yrs and the manufacturer was Pliva. Unfortunately they sold their company and now I cannot purchase it because the pill number 467 10mm Pliva is no longer available. I have been taking the propranolol but it is from a different manufacturer by the name of Worthington. The inactive ingredients are not the same and I am not the only one who has had a problem finding the drug with the same inactive ingredients as the Pliva 467 made by Pliva. Why couldn’t the new manufacturers put the same inactive ingredients in the 467 Pliva pill. The 467 had Anhydrous Lactose, Magnesium Stearate, Cellulose, Microcrystalline, Sodium Starch Glycolate Type a Potato, FD&C Yellow No. 6, D&CYellow No. 10, Aluminum Oxide. I never had a problem with that drug for over 30yrs. Now I am taking the DAN 5554 10mm of propranolol and it has agitated my acid reflus, I have nausea and digestive problems. I saw on MEds Chat that two women complained that they also had this problem when changing manufacturers and now I am frightened to try another drug manufacturer because I could also have a worse problem. So the difference between the 467 Pliva 10mm is one was 6mm and the new pill is 7mm. Is that how much inactive ingredients are in this DAN 5554 pill. I would love to write to Watson Pharmaceuticals and tell them that the only difference in the new pill I am taking is the size and the Sodium Starch Glycolate Type a Potato and Aluminum Oxide and could that be affecting my stomach? Would appreciate a response.

  • Lorre Hopkins
    Reply
    Posted at 10:29 pm, January 2, 2019

    One ingredient you didn’t mention is Gluten. Though most prescriptions do not use gluten some companies source their starch from different places and cannot guarantee that it isn’t from a gluten source. I have dealt with this problem for years with Provigil. One month I’m Ok and then the next I’m sick. I have also been tested and found to be allergic to certain dyes, casein, and petroleum based ingredients like mineral oil. It upsets me that I have to ingest ingredients that make me sick in order to get well. With so many different generics I am always being given different brands of the same drug with different inactive ingredients. I don’t know why generic drugs are considered identical when they have different inactive ingredients. I wish there would be more scrutiny in this area, and that laws would be stronger to protect consumers. Contrary to what you said I have to go online AFTER I purchase my meds and find out what the inactive ingredients are that I’ve just purchased. And then I am stuck with meds I can’t use for another month.

  • Kathy Mansker
    Reply
    Posted at 11:47 am, May 5, 2019

    Other common additives are metals ie. titanium , aluminum, silicone forms. These are toxic, carcinogenic..: clog blood vessels and produce antibodies which pass on a o every generation. You also might consider the additives to clothing you wesr. What a great delivery system for killer ingredients.

  • Ann Campbell
    Reply
    Posted at 1:05 pm, May 9, 2019

    I take Metformin and the pharmacy frequently changes the manufacturer. Each one seems to have different inactive ingredients. While frequent diarrhea and stomach cramps may not bother some people, I have to stay close to the house. These problems only occur with certain manufacturers. How can I determine which of the inactive ingredients is causing the problems? I am lactose intolerant and while small doses of lactose are not a problem, taking it over time seems to cause issues. However, none of the pills involved has lactose in them. I have tried looking up each ingredient but it is time consuming and I haven’t figured a method that would be productive in finding the culprit. Thank you for any help.

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