Like many other ‘eczema’ sufferers/atopic individuals out there, I also have asthma and have had it since childhood. My asthma is very well controlled with the help of the wonderful pill Singulair. I almost never have to use my rescue inhaler and my daily activities aren’t limited – I can generally do high intensity exercise with no trouble breathing.
Singulair used to only be available in a brand name form, but recently (within in the past year), drug companies have been given the green light to go ahead and produce this medication in a generic form, with the same active ingredient, montelukast sodium.
This past fall, I received the generic and when I tried it, my eczema got worse and I got puffy eyes. When I stopped taking the medication, these effects went away. I don’t think this was just a fluke because I then tried it again and got the same results.
At the time, I filed a claim with the FDA and also called the drug manufacturer to get a list of the ingredients.
This is what is in generic montelukast sodium tablets:
Each 10 mg film-coated montelukast sodium tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose, iron oxide red, iron oxide yellow, lactose monohydrate (128.6 mg), magnesium stearate, pregelatinized starch, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium starch glycolate, and titanium dioxide.
Basically mostly a bunch of colors and fillers, but the one thing that worries me is seeing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS, in the list. According to the Environmental Working Group, SLS is suspected to be an environmental toxin and has strong evidence of being a human irritant. I don’t have the focus to get all science-y in my blog like one of my overseas TSW buddies, Miss Kitty Fantastico, although I’m sure this subject is just begging for some graphs and diagrams, but hell, let’s briefly give you a bit more evidence why this SLS stuff probably sucks for all of us.
Let me present a few studies to you where healthy controls were compared with atopic controls being exposed to SLS. Atopic folks were found to have a statistically significant response with irritant dermatitis. Here is another article that is pretty comprehensive and cites other scientific research.
So, okay, these types of studies are all over the place, we know that SLS isn’t the greatest thing to be using in our products like shampoos and hand soaps, ESPECIALLY if we have a compromised skin barrier due to eczema or contact dermatitis.
But if I’m actually ingesting this stuff, how does that bode for me? I find it very ironic that, on the Material Safety Data Sheet for SLS, it says, “Hazardous in case of ingestion.” Then we read under the Toxicological Information, in part:
Special Remarks on other Toxic Effects on Humans:Acute Potential Health Effects: Skin: Causes mild to moderate skin irritation. May cause allergic reaction (dermatitis) Eyes:Causes moderate eye irritation. Inhalation: Material is irritating to mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. May causeallergic respiratory reaction. Ingestion: Causes gastrointestinal tract irritation with nausea, vomiting, hypermotility, diarrhea,and bloating. May also affect behavior (ataxia, somnolence), and cardiovascular system. Chronic Potential Health Effects:Skin: Prolonged or repeated skin contact may cause allergic dermatitis. Ingestion: Prolonged or repeated ingestion may affect the liver. Inhalation: Prolonged or repeated inhalation may cause allergic respiratory reaction (asthma).