If you have sucrose intolerance, you must be mindful of foods you consume. But you must also be mindful of medications you take. Some medications contain sucrose, especially liquid medications.
Oral Over-the-Counter Medications
For most over-the-counter medications, safe alternatives exist that do not contain sucrose. Reading the label is vitally important and should be done often since as drug manufacturers can change their ingredients frequently and without warning. Ask your local pharmacist for assistance if needed. Most pharmacists are happy to help you read medication labels. Cough drops or lozenges can also contain sucrose, so read these labels carefully as well. Look for sucrose in both active ingredients and inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients, called excipients, are added to medications to serve as binders, fillers, stabilizers, or preservatives.
Oral Prescription Medications
Many prescription medications, especially liquid medications, contain sucrose. You should read both the active ingredient list and the inactive ingredient list. If there are questions, you or your pharmacist can contact the drug manufacturer to inquire about ingredients. The contact information for the drug manufacturer can be found in the package insert or online by searching the drug company’s name. Establishing a good relationship with a local pharmacist is key to getting help.
In certain circumstances, a prescribed medication that does not contain sucrose is not readily available, particularly if there is only one brand-name drug and a generic alternative is not available. In this case, it is important to work with a local compounding pharmacy that might make medications that are sucrose-free. Skilled compounding pharmacists can use alternative sweeteners, such as aspartame, dextrose, fructose, or stevia, to sweeten medications. If a medication cannot be compounded to be sucrose-free, talk to your physician about other options to treat the condition for which the medication was prescribed.
Some medications are sweetened with polyols or sugar alcohols. While not the same as sucrose, some sugar alcohols can cause gas, flatulence, abdominal distention, and/or diarrhea when consumed frequently or in large quantities or by sensitive patients. Some common sugar alcohols are sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and erythritol. If you have trouble with these ingredients, consult your physician.
Injectable, Infused, and Other Types of Medications
Even if you have sucrose intolerance, you can probably tolerate injectable or infused medications because they bypass the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, you can tolerate inhalers, creams, ointments, and sprays because the gastrointestinal tract is not involved in their absorption. Regardless, report your sucrose intolerance to all healthcare professionals involved in your care.