This Blog Entry May Have A Laxative Effect

I’ve mentioned that my throat has been sore from either pregnancy drainage or allergies. I went yesterday to get some more cough drops to take to the Botanical Gardens and saw they had Sugar Free varieties. I thought, “Hmmm. That’s a good idea! I’ll grab those.” I mean, I might as well try to avoid excess calories when I can, right?

By the time MrZ came home that afternoon, I was sitting on the couch with a half-empty bag and a pile of wrappers on the table in front of me. However, I had switched back to the old school HALLS with the sugar at that point. I told him, “You know? The Sugar Free ones just don’t seem to work as well.”

He looked at the pile of wrappers on the table and said, “Um. You know those things can give you diarrhea, right?” “What – cough drops?” “Um. Well…the Sugar Free ones.”

I immediately grabbed the bag looking for that small bit of information that would have been useful before I demolished half of the bag. The entire time I was reading through the active/inactive ingredients and dosage recommendations – I was bitching. “Oh, Man. This had better not be true. I’ll be really pissed off if I have to spend the evening in the bathroom because of my damn sore throat.”

I finally made it through all of the important boxed information – seeing no warning about the effects of the cough drops on my digestive system. Just as I was saying, “There isn’t ONE THING here that mentions that possibility,” I caught a small line below the boxes of information. Off to itself.

Excessive dosage could cause a laxative effect.

No WARNING! No big bold letters, no flashing red lights. Just plain white text under all of the information one might actually read. I was so pissed! I mean – isn’t the point of a cough drop to be taken excessively? Don’t we all suck on those things all day? WHY MAKE POOP-INDUCING VARIETIES? BAH.

LUCKILY – I was fine. I have a tough digestive system that seemed to weather the “Excessive Dosage” without causing me any more time in the bathroom than my pregnant bladder already gives me. BUT STILL. I think that most of us would find that information a little more important than they indicated with their small white text. That warning should be plastered over the front of the bag in 72pt font. Hell – on EACH WRAPPER. That way – you know for damn sure before you spend all day popping them – that pooping may follow.

So – my public service is to let you know. Sugar Free cough drops may cause a laxative effect. DO NOT FORGET THAT.


20 thoughts on “This Blog Entry May Have A Laxative Effect”

  1. That’s a danger with sugar-free anything–or should I say, anything sweetened with sugar alcohols. This is something I learned a few years ago, while diligently following South Beach, and active on a weight loss message board.

    Sugar alcohols’ ability to invoke diahrea varies from person to person. My theory is that we each have a threshold of tolerance. The sugar-free pancake syrup? Definitely a no-no for my son and me. But I can eat one of those Blue Bunny sugar-free fudgsicle-like pops, no problem. So I’m a label reader (not just for that, also for things like hydrogenated oils–which wouldn’t be in cough drops of course–high-fructose corn syrup, etc.). I won’t avoid a product if the amount of sugar alcohol is sufficiently low; but if a single serving it’s above my tolerance level.

    I’ve seen plenty of cough drops that list a “do not exceed in X hours” level. Depends on what’s in them. I never thought the point of cough drops was to take them excessively–at least not the ones that have strong stuff in them. They’re supposed to suppess the coughing urge enough that you don’t need to take them to excess. Sounds like the kind of cough drop you’re used to isn’t very effective? Might as well go buy hard candy.

    If you want to avoid sugar alcohols–which aren’t just in cough drops, but candies, cookies, and the afore-mentioned frozen treats and pancake syrup, look for ingredients like mannitol, xylitol, etc; things that end in “-ol.”

    Glad you didn’t have to suffer the notorious (well, in my mind, anyway) consequences of sugar alcohols!

  2. Holy Hell! Why didn’t anyone tell me? My Ricola regular drops don’t contain this warning, but my Ricola chewy breath mints do. Thanks Zoot.

  3. You’re lucky! My OB/GYN won’t let me use cough drops while pregnant and those Fruit Breezers don’t do jack.

  4. Good to know. Just like Baby teething gel( which is sold next to the baby shampoo not even in the medicine aisle ) 1/2 a teaspoon can cause your body to stop producing oxygen in your blood. So if you even think your child has swallowed a little to much, they have to have their stomach pumped because it can kill them. Once again it is just small print on the label. So if you use it treat it like medicine. I vote for a popisicle for the child. It can not kill them.

  5. I was excite to see sugar-free gum drops in the bulk food section of the grocery store. I bought and ate a softball size bag of gumdrops. About 2 hours later my stomach bloated up to the point that it felt like my stomach was going to split. about 21/2 hours after eating I had the worst experience with diarrhea I’ve ever had. And I was a heavy drinker in college and nothing even compared to this. The diarrhea lasted about 2 hours and it was painful. I will be warning my family to stay away from these products, they’re dangerous.

  6. I wish I’d read your site earlier. I’ve had diarrhea since yesterday and it freaking sucks.

  7. I know, I’m commenting a year + after this thread was started. I just Googled this and it’s true. Ricola sugar free is like swallowing a massive hand grenade. Worst gas I’ve ever had and then explosive diarrhea. And I don’t think it’s just Ricola. Another brand cough drop seemed to be producing the same effects. So I stopped using any of them and the miserable side effects stopped instantly.

  8. I wish I had read this earlier too…another lucky guy that can’t read small print here. I just bought and downed 25 halls sugar free in about 30 mins and I’m certiany paying for it. Might be the worst diarrhea I’ve ever had – no fun. I have a very strong stomach too….very few things get to me. I found my krytonite.

  9. Oh my gosh I wish I had read this earlier! My stomach is making the loudest moans and groans ever and every time I fart it feels like poo is about to come out! I really want to stop eating the Ricola sweets but I can’t stop myself I’ve downed almost two whole packs, there’s one more left and I really can’t stop myself from eating them! Gosh I don’t know what to do!

  10. I wish I would have read this earlier too. I had a cough at school and used some Halls cough drops and it gave me the worst gas I’ve ever had!
    The funny thing is that I used to be able to use them all day, but now if I use more than one, I get really gassy.

  11. I’m happy to learn I was not the only one that nearly exploded after having a few sugar free Ricola. Not too many finds on Google about it, this one for sure the most entertaining.

  12. Tummy rumbling like crazy and gassy. I was sucking on sugar-free Ricola’s all morning for my dry mouth. I guess I know now not to use these. I even made a pretty decorative cup of Ricola’s on my desk at work! Ha! I guess it’ll stay decorative.

  13. Well, I’m in solitary confinement while my sugar-free cough drop caused gas has basically cleared the house. I’m just glad to know what’s going on! I mean, I’ve had gas before, but this is ridiculous – truly impressive. No more for me.

Comments are closed.