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Patient Information

Medicines containing animal products

https://kingstonhospital.nhs.uk/information/medicines-containing-animal-products

This offers information on some common medicines which may contain animal products or may be derived (sourced) from animal products.

Which common medicines may contain animal products?

Some medicines contain ingredients derived from animals, usually pigs or cattle. These include:

  • heparin type medicines to prevent or treat blood clots
  • animal (pigs or cattle) insulins
  • pancreatic enzyme supplements
  • treatments to help the lungs of pre term babies develop
  • gelatine capsules
  • epoetins (EPOs) which are injections to treat low red blood cells
  • MMR vax PRO® (a type of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine).

Some medicines contain animal derived products which are not active ingredients, but are needed in their manufacture. These include:

  • lactose (from cow’s milk)
  • shellac (from insects)
  • stearic acid (sometimes sourced from animals).

How can I find out what my medicine contains?

You can read the patient information leaflet which came with your medicine.

If you need further information, you can speak to your nurse, doctor or midwife. They can arrange for you to discuss the medicine with a pharmacist.

Are alternatives to these medicines available?

MedicineAlternative
Heparin type medicinesIn some cases, you can have a heparin treatment that does not come from pigs. In other cases, there may be an alternative, but it may not be as effective, or might have particular side effects.

There may be occasions where there is no alternative to heparin treatment.
InsulinHuman insulin is available and most people are treated with this. If you are on animal insulin and want to change to human insulin, the dose may need to change, and you may need to check your blood sugar more often.
Pancreas medicinesThere are no alternative treatments.
MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) A vaccine that does not have ingredients obtained from pigs is available. Ask your doctor about this option.
Epoetins (EPOs)All epoetins are derived from hamster cells. There are no equivalent alternative treatments.

More information

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For more information, call the Kingston Hospital Medicines Helpline, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

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020 8934 2092
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For multicultural support for people of all faiths and life philosophies, speak to the Kingston Hospital Duty Chaplain, available via the hospital switchboard, 24 hours, 7 days a week
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020 8546 7711


Contacts

Kingston Hospital Medicines Helpline, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm 020 8934 2092

Translate Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Accessibility Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Support services

Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.

www.kingstonhospital.nhs.uk

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Translate

Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.

Request More Information

Accessibility

Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).


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