Presence of phthalates in gastrointestinal medications: Is there a hidden danger?

Zane R. Gallinger, Geoffrey C. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pharmaceutical companies that produce gastrointestinal (GI) medications often utilize phthalates for their ability to localize medication release. Commonly prescribed GI medications that may utilize phthalates are 5-Aminosalicylates, proton pump inhibitors, and pancreatic enzymes. Our understanding of the cumulative health effects of phthalates from medications remains unclear, and there is increasing evidence that phthalates are not harmless. Experimental studies in animals have shown that phthalates, specifically dibutyl phthalate and Di- (2-ethyl-hexyl) phthalate, have the potential to alter and/or inhibit reproductive biology and in utero development. Despite the lack of definitive human data, many cohort and cross-sectional studies demonstrate concerning associations between phthalates and poor health status, specifically developmental problems. Longitudinal studies and studies with larger sample sizes are required to determine whether phthalates actually cause negative health consequences. It is also important that physicians regularly review and discuss with patients the medicinal ingredients in their medications and supplements, specifically in pregnant woman with inflammatory bowel disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7042-7047
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number41
StatePublished - Nov 7 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-Aminosalicylates
  • Development
  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Medications
  • Phthalates
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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