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Coated Pills

Q. It says on your website that one can take any pill medication that is swallowed.  Does that include coated pills such as Advil?

A. Most pills which one swallows are coated with a glaze, wax, or shellac which makes the pills easier to swallow, and some of these coatings have some form of simple sugar (e.g., sucrose) mixed in to make it even more pleasant to swallow the pill. None of these ingredients pose a Pesach concern.  Occasionally a pill is coated with sweeteners which are Pesach-sensitive (e.g., sorbitol or mannitol) or which contain a flavor; such items would be listed as one of the inactive ingredients, and we would not recommend those for Pesach.  [This occurs so infrequently, that our general recommendation remains that all pills are permitted.]

An example of this issue is the Advil brand family of tablets.  The (inactive) ingredient panel of the standard Advil tablets and caplets shows that they contain pharmaceutical glaze (i.e., shellac) and sucrose, and one who swallows an Advil pill notices that they have a more pleasant/sweet taste than pills coated with a non-sweetened coating.  These do not pose a Pesach concern.  However, on rare occasion one will come across a tablet whose ingredient panel indicates that its coating contains mannitol or a flavor, and those items are not recommended.