Monday, September 21, 2009

Medications & Sulfites

Yes it is discerning to learn that even medications have sulfites (either as a by product, naturally occurring, or as preservative). Here is a list of medications that contain sulfites (SOURCE).

Bronchodilator solutions for asthma
  • Adrenalin chloride 1:1000 concentration
  • Alupent
  • Bronkosol
  • Isuprel hydrochloride solution
  • Micronefrin
  • Vaponefrin

Topical eye drops

  • Pred-Mild
  • Pred-Forte
  • Sulfacetamide
  • Prednisol
  • dexamethasone)

Injectable medications

  • Amikacin - an antibiotic
  • Aramine - an antishock agent
  • Betamethasone phosphate (Celestone) - a corticosteroid
  • Chloropromazine (Thorazine)
  • Dexamethasone phosphate (Decadron) - a corticosteriod and ophthalmic drops
  • Dopamine
  • Epinephrine (Adrenaline, Ana-Kit, Epi-Pen)
  • Garamycin - an antibiotic
  • Gentamycin
  • Intropin - an antishock agent
  • Isoetharine HCl
  • Isoproterenol
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Hydrocortone - a corticosteriod
  • Lidocaine with epinephrine (Xylocaine) - a local anesthetic
  • Meperidine (Demerol) - an analgesic
  • Metarminol
  • Nebcin - an antibiotic
  • Norepinephrine (Levophed) - an antishock agent
  • Pred Mild - ophthalmic drops
  • Pred Forte - opthalmic drops
  • Prednisolone - opthalmic drops
  • Procaine (Novocaine) - a local anesthetic
  • Prochloroperazine (Compazine)
  • Promethazine (Phenergan)
  • Pronestyle - an antiarrhythmic
  • Solutions for total parenteral nutrition and dialysis
  • Sulfacetamide - ophthalmic drops
  • Tobramycin
  • Xylocain - preserved with epinephrine
  • Trimovate
  • Timodine
It is advisable if you have a strong allergic reaction to sulfites that you discuss the use of an Epi-pen in the event of an emergency with your doctor. Each 0.3 mL in EpiPen contains 0.5 mg sodium metabisulfite (SOURCE). You may be told to request individual vials of epinephrine to avoid the sulfite preservative, but in July 2009 we were informed by Dr. Steven Wise (whom we found through the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology) that even individual doses are preserved with sulfites. Dr. Wise went on to say that and Epi-pen is what would be administered at the hospital and he [my husband] should only use it if he cannot breathe and is already on his way to the emergency.

So do we have an Epi-pen? Yes. Have we ever had to use it? Thankfully, no.

In Fall 2009 my husband had a procedure where the Doctor applied Xylocain (even after repeated warnings that my husband was allergic) to his skin. The Doctor even joked "see nothing happened". Well it took about seven hours before my husbands throat began to feel tight and luckily it did not progress any further than that. He could still speak and swallow so he took a benedryl. The good news is now we know what kind of a reaction he will have to epinephrine applied to the skin. The bad news is that we know it will be a more severe and quick reaction if he must actually inject the Epi-pen.

In August 2010 my husband went to a new doctor because our insurance change and she


  1. Are there over the counter meds or prescription allergy pills that contain some?

  2. I don't know, but I do most of my research at the FDA's site: or Sulfites are definitely used to preserve narcotic pain killers and anesthesia drugs.