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Original Research

Allergy to Tartrazine in Psychotropic Drugs.

Manjeet S. Bhatia

Published: July 31, 2000

Article Abstract

Background: High psychiatric morbidity has beenreported among those who complain of food intolerance or allergy.Many cases of food allergy or intolerance to drugs are not due toallergy to the food or drugs themselves, but to the additivesused for coloring, flavoring, preserving, thickening,emulsifying, or stabilizing the product. Of various coloring dyesused, tartrazine (FD & C yellow no. 5) is the color mostfrequently incriminated in producing allergic reactions. Theexact epidemiology and pattern of allergic reactions totartrazine in psychotropic drugs have not been frequently studiedand reported.

Method: The present study included consecutiveoutpatients (May 1996 to April 1998) who developed allergicreactions or intolerance to tartrazine in psychotropic drugs.Total patients exposed to tartrazine-containing drugs were alsorecorded. The subjects showing allergic reactions to tartrazinewere then exposed to non-tartrazine-containing brands.

Results: Of 2210 patients exposed totartrazine-containing drugs, 83 (3.8%) developed allergicreactions. The symptoms subsided within 24 to 48 hours ofstopping the drug. None of the patients showed allergy tonon-tartrazine-containing brands. History of allergy totartrazine was present in 13.2%, and 15.7% of patients had ahistory of aspirin sensitivity.

Conclusion: Tartrazine allergy should beconsidered in patients developing drug allergy, because it wouldrequire changing the brand rather than stopping treatment withthat drug.

Volume: 61

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