Q. I sometimes use liquid medicines or chewable pills without a hechsher during the year. Can I use them for Pesach?
A. Liquid medicines, chewable pills and pills coated with a flavored glaze are considered palatable and may contain chametz. Therefore:
If possible, they should be replaced, under the direction of a doctor, with a non-chewable, uncoated pill.
If substitution is not possible and the person is in a state of sakana or sofek sakana (any possible danger to human life), the medication may be owned and consumed. The same applies if the condition is not yet a safek sakana but may deteriorate to that point. A rabbi should be consulted, on a case by case basis, as to whether it is preferable to purchase the medicine before or during Pesach, and as to how to dispose of the medicine once the danger passes.
If substitution is not possible and a doctor determines that there is no possibility of sakana if the person does not take the medicine, a rabbi should be consulted. He may be able to investigate if the medication actually contains chametz.
This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.