Crushing Prescription Pills Could Trigger Allergic Reactions

Don't make this classic pill-taking mistake.

January 14, 2014


A warning about your prescription pills: Don't crush them before taking! A small new study published in the journal Contact Dermatitis found that splitting or crushing certain types of prescription pills could actually trigger an airborne allergic reaction.


It's no joke. Breaking certain drugs apart, including some popular anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan, Valium, and Xanax, could produce rashes that induce their own worry. Belgian researchers found evidence that breaking a pill before swallowing it can release tiny tablet fragments into the air, ones that could cause dermatitis and skin irritation when they land in sensitive areas like the face, eyelids, and neck.

Drugs containing tetrazepam, trazodone, and zolpidem, used to treat things like anxiety, depression, and insomnia (Ambien, Lunesta), were more likely to trigger allergic reactions.

Researchers say if you experience mysterious rashes and have had contact with these drugs, you should see an allergist for patch testing. If crushing or cutting pills is necessary, be sure to use gloves and a mask to prevent irritation, suggest the Belgian researchers.

For more information on healing without pills, read Consider Natural Remedies for These Ailments.

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