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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

Can My Child With a Milk Allergy Take a Medicine Containing Lactose?

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Question
My child has a milk allergy but was prescribed a medicine that contains lactose. Is this safe to use?
Answer

Lactose can be contaminated with cow milk proteins and lactose can be found in certain medicines such as dry powder inhalers used to treat asthma. Therefore, patients with cow milk allergy need to avoid these inhalers because they could experience an allergic reaction when using them. Ask your healthcare provider to switch your child to a different inhaler such as a metered-dose inhaler, which does not contain lactose. Other medications can contain lactose such as antibiotics, antihistamines and pain medications. Check the ingredients carefully and ask your pharmacist to identify if lactose is an ingredient present in the medication.

Categories
Allergy, Asthma, Medicines, Milk Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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