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Tag: over the counter medicines

Food Dyes and Colors (FD&C) in Medicines

Why, oh why, do pharmaceutical companies add artificial colors to our medications?

Seriously, who was it that decreed that Penicillin and its antibiotic derivatives must be pink? Is it really important that Liquid Children’s Tylenol be dyed red? How necessary is it to boost the color of cough syrup to purple? Why does the Sudafed pill need to be coated red?

If you are sensitive to some of the “approved” Food Dyes & Colors you might have a hard time finding both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription meds that are dye-free.

When my kids had strep throat earlier this year, we were forced to accept the red food dyes that made the Keflex liquid pink along with the necessary antibiotics. I could time my son’s reaction to the food dyes by the truly evil mood that appeared 7-8 hours after taking a dose. Since this is a typical effect that food dyes have on him, we knew to expect it and wait it out until it passed, almost an hour later. We were hugely thankful when we completed the 10-day antibiotic course and his happy personality returned.

In the quest to take my historically weak-stomached 8-year-old to a family reunion on a cruise ship, I assembled various natural motion sickness remedies and made a trip to Walgreen’s to select an over-the-counter medication. Of the 8 brands/types of OTC anti-motion sickness meds on the shelf, only two were free of yellow food dye.

But, I digress from the original question: why do drug makers add ingredients to medicines that are not medicinal?

It drives me crazy.