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Medicines (Sugar Content)

Volume 82: debated on Tuesday 2 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will investigate the sugar content of paediatric medicines and its impact on the aetiology of dental caries;(2) if he will take steps to ensure that a range of sugar-free liquid medicines are made available in the United Kingdom.

We have received expert advice on a number of occasions that long-term use by children of medicines containing sugar can cause serious dental decay. A warning to this effect has been included in the "Prescribing for Children" section of the British National Formulary and prescribers are encouraged to use sugar-free alternatives wherever possible.In discussions with manufacturers, licensing authority staff stress the desirability of minimising or removing the sugar content of medicines, espectially paediatric ones. Sugar in solution is, however, a non-toxic and effective base and preservative for liquid medicine and it can be difficult to reformulate satisfactorily using alternatives which do not present other problems.