Do you know what's in your meds?

16 December 2013        

Soluble asprin

Dr Mike Knapton, our Associate Medical Director, explains what to do if you are worried about the sodium content in your medication.

You may have seen in the newspapers recently that some medicines can contribute to your daily intake of salt. For heart patients taking aspirin, these headlines may have caused concern.

Too much salt in your diet is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. It's recommended that we stick to six grams or less of salt a day, in order to keep our hearts healthy. But what this research highlighted is that sodium in your medication could be adding to your daily salt intake.

If you're in doubt about what's in your meds, have a look at the label. All medicines that contain at least 23 milligrams of sodium in each dose are required to declare on their labelling that the product contains sodium. The patient information leaflet inside the box will show the exact amount of sodium and warn those on a low sodium diet to bear this in mind.

Medicines that contain less than 23 milligrams are considered to have a very low level of sodium and therefore are not required to declare the sodium content on their labels and are not a risk to health. Aspirin tablets or soluble aspirin do not contain salt, so they are a good alternative to the fizzing medications which may have salt inside.

The most important thing is that you don't panic and stop taking your prescribed meds. Your doctor will have considered the risks and benefits very carefully before prescribing your medication.

If you're at all worried about what's in your meds, have a chat to your pharmacist or book an appointment with your GP.