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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

More recently, Dr. Smith has adopted the 21st century technology of audio and video podcasting as conduits for the short health and wellness reports, HEALTH NEWS YOU SHOULD USE.  Many of these have video versions, and they may be found on his YouTube page:

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

If you have questions or suggestions about this content, please email the doctor at or leave him a message at 516-778-8864.  His website is:

Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Mar 23, 2019


Ninety percent of the most popular prescription medications in the US contain one or more ingredients that may make you sick.  Now, I’m not talking about the main or so-called active ingredient but rather about the inactive ingredients that are added to pills, capsules, and liquids to improve shelf life, absorption, and taste.

A study just released by collaborators from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT analyzed some 42,000 oral medications and their nearly 350,000 inactive ingredients.  The investigators pinpointed 3 troublesome inactive ingredients that appear most often.  

Forty-five percent of medications contain lactose, 33% contain one or another food dye, and up to 0.1% contain peanut oil.  This latter ingredient that could be life threatening for those with peanut allergies.  

To make matters worse, there are countless versions of the same prescription drug by different manufacturers that contain different inactive ingredients.  If you are an allergic individual, check drug labels and question your pharmacist about the inactive ingredients in the medication you are given.   

Those with allergies should always have an antihistamine like Benadryl handy, and those with severe allergies should carry Epipens or their generic equivalents.

Daniel Reker, Steven M. Blum, Christoph Steiger, Kevin E. Anger, Jamie M. Sommer, John Fanikos and Giovanni Traverso. Inactive” ingredients in oral medications. Science Translational Medicine, 2019 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau6753

#inactiveingredients #allergy #fooddye #lactose #peanut