Published: June 2012


Beware - Peanut Oil is Present in Some Medicines!

Prescriber Update 33(2): 12–13
June 2012

Healthcare professionals are advised to consider the potential for allergic reactions to occur when prescribing or dispensing medicines to patients with a known peanut allergy.

Peanut oil (also known as arachis oil) is present in a number of medicines available in New Zealand (Table 1).The Centre for Adverse Reaction Monitoring (CARM) has recently received a report of an allergic skin reaction in a patient after receiving her first dose of a medicine. The patient had a known peanut allergy but only discovered later that the medicine contained peanut oil.

The peanut oil used in medicines is highly refined and the majority, if not all, of the peanut protein is removed during manufacturing1. However, as life-threatening allergic reactions can occur with minimal exposure to peanut, caution is recommended with the use of medicines containing peanut oil in patients with a known peanut allergy.

Medsafe is working with the sponsors of medicines containing peanut oil to improve labelling. A list of medicines containing peanut oil can be obtained from the Product/ Application search section on the Medsafe website

Table 1: Medicines containing peanut oil that are approved for use in New Zealand

Name of Medicine
Active Ingredient Indications
Utrogestan Tablets
Progesterone Adjunctive use with oestrogen in postmenopausal women with an intact uterus (HRT).
Metvix Topical Cream
Methyl aminolevulinate Treatment of thin or non-hyperkeratotic and non-pigmented actinic keratoses on the face and scalp.
Sustanon Solution for Injection
Testosterone Testosterone replacement therapy in males.
Nandrolone Treatment of osteoporosis.
Palliative treatment of selected cases of disseminated breast cancer.
Cerumol Ear Drops
(Pharmacy only)
Arachis oil
Polytar Liquid Topical Solution
(General sale)
Cade oil
Pine tar
Coal tar
(General sale)
Peppermint oil  
Blackmores Flexagil Pain Relief Topical Cream
(General sale)
Symphytum officinale  
Zinc and Castor Oil Topical Ointment*

(General sale)

Zinc oxide

* Added following Prescriber Update publication

  1. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. 2003. Medicines containing peanut (arachis) oil. Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance 29: 5. URL: groups/pl-p/documents/websiteresources/con007450.pdf (accessed 22 May 2012).


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