“Inactive” pill ingredients could raise the dose of your medication

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 14:40 in Health & Medicine

The average medication contains a mix of eight “inactive” ingredients added to pills to make them taste better, last longer, and stabilize the active ingredients within. Some of those additives are now getting a closer look for their ability to cause allergic reactions in some patients. But now, in a new twist, MIT researchers have discovered that two other inactive ingredients may actually boost medication strength to the benefit of some patients.  In a study published March 17 in Cell Reports, researchers report that vitamin A palmitate, a common supplement, and gum resin, a popular glazing agent for pills and chewing gum — could make hundreds of drugs more effective, from blood-clotting agents and anti-cancer drugs to over-the-counter pain relievers. They also outline a method for using machine learning to find other inactive ingredients with untapped therapeutic value.  “Anything you ingest has a potential effect, but tracing that effect to the molecular level can be a Herculean effort,”...

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