Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Warning: Prescription Drugs containing SLS

I have just had an experience that makes me very wary. I got a prescription for a new drug from the doctor, and I actually read the "other ingredients." I would suggest that anyone who is allergic to coconut do this, because the pharmacy is certainly not going to do it for you. Actually, you would have to get a really overly involved pharmacist to even think of such a thing. Luckily, my pharmacist today kept me out of trouble. I don't know how much Sodium Laurel Sulfate is in an average capsule, probably not much, but if you have to take a medicine three times a day, it could possibly mess you up.
I am not kidding here. I have had at least mild allergic reactions to almost every single prescription drug I've taken in the past 4 years, since I developed an allergy to coconut, but of course, I don't think any of them have SLS in them, so I don't know what it really is.

Anyway, I decided to get crazy and look up some random common drugs that may contain SLS. Of course, I don't have time to look them ALL up, so this is just to give you an example. Most drugs don't contain it. Sometimes some dosages don't have the capsules, so all the rules apply, except when they don't, of course! There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the types of drugs that contain it.

B12 capsules
CIALIS® (tadalafil)
CYMBALTA® (duloxetine hydrochloride)
Deconsal (Guaifenesin)
Lyrica (pregabalin)
Robaxin (methocarbamol)
Vibra-Tabs® (doxycycline hyclate, USP)


Joanna Brandom said...

Hiya! Brilliant Blog. My mum has an allergy to coconut and is very careful so when she had a bad reaction we couldn't work out what had done it. I went to google and came accross this blog and took a lot of interest in this post! Guess what? my mums blood pressure medication contains SLS. So we have solved the mystery and can now get her to go to the Doctors and change it. So thank you so much.

Unknown said...

While it IS terrifying to me that sodium lauryl sulfate is in your prescription medicine, it is not from coconut. That said, it is a detergent that is used in EVERYTHING, from shampoo to toothpaste, that is cheap and creates lots of lather and skin irritant associated with contact dermatitis, especially with sensitive skin and eczema. (Which is why it confuses me that dermatologists recommend Cetaphil) Scientists recommend no more than 15% concentration of it in any product, and then only because you'll be washing it right off.

Since I have super sensitive skin, its prevalence was what led me to developing my own bath/body products, and I stumbled across your blog while researching alternatives to coconut oil to use for those with allergies!

Also look out for cocomidopropyl betaine, coco glucoside/polyglucose, potassium or sodium cocoate, and many chocolate products!

Xzigalia said...

Elizabeth- now that you mention Cetaphil, have a closer look at your doctor prescribed creams and shampoos.

I was using Sebizole, prescribed for an itchy scalp, and on a hint from this blog (thank you, mrs coconut lady, I now love you so much I want to marry you and have your babies) I looked on the ingredients and found: Sodium laureth sulfate, Cocamide DEA, sodium lauryl sarcosinate. And I looked at my hydrocortisone, used for my allergic eczema- SLS. And I looked at my aqueous cream soap substitute- SLS!!!

You just can't win!

Xzigalia said...

Also @Elizabeth, Wikipedia says that Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is: "...synthesized by treating lauryl alcohol with sulfur trioxide gas, or oleum, or chlorosulfonic acid to produce hydrogen lauryl sulfate... Lauryl alcohol is in turn usually derived from either coconut or palm kernel oil by hydrolysis, which liberates their fatty acids, followed by reduction of the acid group to an alcohol.

The related surfactant sodium lauryl sulfate (also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate or SLS) is produced similarly, but without the ethoxylation step."

So both of them often come from coconut, though they don't necessarily have to.

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