Pills on Pesach
As Pesach approaches, questions arise about the kashrut of pills, including oral contraceptives and prenatal vitamins.
Most authorities, including our website's rabbinic supervisor Rav Yehuda Henkin, do not require kosher certification, for Pesach or year-round use, on pills that are not chewable and do not have a flavored coating. Such pills are considered halachically inedible and do not present a problem of kashrut.
Some chewable or coated pills contain chametz, and cannot be used on Pesach. This issue is discussed at length on the OU site:http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/passover/article/5708/. An extensive list of medications (including contraceptives) that are kosher for Pesach is available at http://www.clalit-global.co.il/en/a_medicine_guide_containing_a_list_of_kosher_for_pessach_medicines.html. The list uses the accepted names for these medications in Israel.
If a medication is found not to be kosher for Pesach, a physician should be consulted in advance. One should not simply stop taking medicine prescribed by a doctor. However, it may be possible to find a kosher l'Pesach alternative. If not, then a rav should be consulted as to how to handle the situation.
Many vitamins are certified as kosher and you may wish to ask your doctor to prescribe such pills whenever possible. Kosher over-the-counter prenatal vitamins can be found at www.koshervitamins.com. A list of kosher prescription prenatal vitamins is available at http://www.star-k.org/cons-appr-obgyn.htm.
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