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Animal Ingredients in Medical Devices

A medical device is critical component that helps carry the medicine to the right spots inside your

body. For example, inhalers – they have two parts: the medicine and the plastic part that helps the medicine get to your lungs. Another example is medicines you inject, like antibiotics or steroids. They stay in a container called a vial before you use them.


In both of these examples, there are rare cases in which the medication that is delivered to your body is animal-free, but the device or container it is in cannot be considered animal-free due to the use of animal-byproducts during the manufacturing process. For example, animal products such as animal tallow (also known as animal fat) or animal bones can be used in the production of the plastic used in both inhaler devices and plastic portions of vials. 


Why Does it Matter?

While rare, animal ingredients in medical devices can pose a life-threatening situation for some patients (e.g. Alpha-gal Syndrome). Many patients don't consume medications with animal-derived ingredients (e.g. dietary/religious preferences) and go to great lengths to identify which medications are animal-free. For these patients, transparency around animal-derived ingredients in the medical device is important.


Reading the package insert might not unveil the full picture. For example, Breztri Aerosphere, manufactured by AstraZeneca, is a long-term medicine for improving breathing and reducing flare-ups in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. It is an inhaler that combines three medications: micronized budesonide (an inhaled corticosteroid), micronized glycopyrrolate (an anticholinergic), and micronized formoterol fumarate (an inhaled long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist). Although there are no animal-derived ingredients in the medication itself, the inhaler's valve is made from material derived from animal tallow.


Below are additional examples and alternatives our team has found:


Drug

Manufacturer

Animal-Free Medication?

Animal-Free Device?

Albuterol sulfate aerosol metered Inhaler

Sandoz

Albuterol sulfate aerosol metered HFA Inhaler

Teva

Xopenex HFA

Lupin

Levalbuterol inhalation Solution

Teva

Ceftriaxone Injection Solution

Baxter

Ceftriaxone Injection Solution

WG Critical Care

How To Find Animal-Free Medications

Finding medications that are not only animal-free but also housed in animal-free devices is essential. The VeganMed Team is here to help. Reach out to us at VeganMed Contact or info@veganmed.org for product inquiries. Alternatively, you can directly contact the manufacturer. Our blog How to Contact Pharmaceutical Companies provides step-by-step instructions.


Conclusion

Understanding the nuances in medication and device relationships is crucial for those seeking animal-free options. The challenge arises when the medicine is animal-free, but the device may contain animal-derived materials. Whether through services like VeganMed or direct contact with pharmaceutical companies, the goal is to empower individuals in making informed healthcare choices aligned with their values. Let's strive for a healthcare environment that accommodates diverse needs, contributing to a more inclusive and safer experience. If you have questions or need guidance, explore our resources or reach out for support. Together, we shape a healthier and more compassionate future in healthcare.


Co-authored by: Cora Altomari


 

Disclaimer: The product and/or information provided on VeganMed is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not lab test the products to confirm that they are free from animal ingredients, and it is possible that the formulation and ingredients could have changed. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product. The information provided in this post is accurate and up to date as of the date it was written. However, please note that circumstances and facts may change over time, and new information may become available that could alter the accuracy or relevance of the content. We encourage readers to verify and cross-reference any information provided here with trusted sources or consult relevant professionals for the most current and accurate updates.


 

Looking for certified and verified animal-free products?



Thank you for your awareness and concern for animal-derived ingredients!


As a reminder, please comment on our FDA Citizen Petition, requesting clear labeling of animal-derived ingredients in medications. Together, we can make a difference.


If you have any further questions about ingredients in your medicines and supplements, feel free to reach out to the VeganMed team!



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