Star-K Kashrus Alert- Five Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Pesach Medicine List


medicineBefore and during Pesach the phones at Kashrus agencies are typically ringing off the hook with Shailos regarding the use of various medications. Such questions are nothing new. Almost 90 years ago, in the 1920s, a “Passover List for the Use of Medications” with dozens of medications was published in Berlin by the Food Commission of the Union of Traditional Torah-True Rabbis of Germany to answer consumer Shailos of yesteryear (to read more about this see: click here ).

Today, with the growth of the modern pharmaceutical industry, these lists are more important than ever. Sefer Kovetz Halachos (Hilchos Pesach 12:4) in the name of Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky a says that one should  preferably, L’Chatchila take a medication approved for Pesach (see footnote #5 that mentions the availability and use of reliable Pesach lists and guides).

When ANY Medicine is Permitted

Of course, certain medications are permissible without question. For example, a Choleh Shayash Bo Sakana, someone whose life is in danger can take any Chometz medication if an equally effective non-Chometz medication is not readily available (see below). As is the case with all Halacha, one should consult with his Rav. Indeed some Rabbanim are more lenient when it comes to taking certain types of medication – yet others are more Machmir (stringent).

Why and When Everyone Needs a Pesach Medicine List

Although there are Gedolei HaPoskim who are lenient with regard to certain medications – no one is lenient regarding to “all medications – across the board.” We have heard about consumers who unfortunately claim, “My Rav holds all medicine is fine”, or “Who needs Pesach medicine lists – it’s all Mutar anyway!?” This is inaccurate and is a misquote and misunderstanding of the Halacha. The following are examples of why the medicine list is necessary even according to most Poskim who have various leniencies regarding medications:

1.      Unless someone is a Choleh Shayash Bo Sakana– one whose illness may be life-threatening, (i.e. cases as defined in the section above) chewable medications (and according to some opinions pills that are coated with a flavored glaze) may only be taken if they are Chometz-Free. Sometimes one can determine this by reading the ingredient panel. However, this is not always easily established, since certain ingredients listed are only possibly Chometz leaving the consumer with no clear answer. If so, the only way to know if the product is Chometz is by consulting the list.

2.      Unless someone is a Choleh Shayash Bo Sakana, liquid medication may only be taken if it is Chometz-Free. The best way to determine this is with the list.

3.      Powdered medications that have a pleasant taste must be Chometz-Free. Often, the only way to determine this is with the list.

4.      One who is experiencing a slight discomfort (e.g., slight joint pain or runny nose) or who is in good health, may take only the above products if they are Choleh Shayash Bo Sakana and are not considered Kitniyos. The list must be consulted. It should be noted that Halachically, it may be permissible to ingest a medication even if it contains Kitniyos if someone is a Choleh or when the Kitniyos ingredients are less than 50% and nullified, Botel B’Rov, since Shishim/ 1/60th is not required (see Mishna Brura 453:9).

5.      Most Poskim are of the opinion that one should only use toothpaste, mouthwash, and lipstick that are Chometz-Free. This information can be found in the Pesach list.

Besides the above cases, there are several other cases where, according to some opinions, consumers would need to try to confirm that the medicine and cosmetics they are using are Chometz-Free. For a full discussion of medicines and cosmetics and the Halachos available on the STAR-K website, click here.

Year-Round Medicine Kashrus Concerns

There are many year-round Kashrus concerns with various medicines as well. The Pesach list does not typically address this, however, a list of approved medications can be found at or by clicking here.

STAR-K Information Available

An abridged list of medicines that are both Kosher and Chometz-Free can be found in the STAR-K Pesach Guide, entitled “2014 Quick Pick Medicine List” on page 102 or online for free download here.

Important To Know

As indicated above, a Choleh Shayash Bo Sakana, someone whose life is in danger, can take any Chometz medication if an equally effective non-Chometz medication is not readily available. This includes the following; All medications for  a heart condition, diabetes, abnormal blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, lung disease, depression, epilepsy, the immune system (transplant anti-rejection), and cancer treatment (including precautionary) may be taken on Pesach.

Furthermore, all prescription medication taken on a regular basis for  chronic conditions should  only  be changed  with  the consultation of your  physician  (if you can not reach  your  physician  you  should  continue  to take  your  regular prescription  and   without  change).   Some examples of such chronic conditions include the following: Any psychiatric condition, prostate condition, Crohn’s Disease, celiac, colitis, high cholesterol, Parkinson’s Disease, anemia, Multiple Sclerosis, thyroid condition, and asthma.

A Team Effort

STAR-K Kosher Certification is grateful to Rabbi Gershon Bess for all of his research, as well as Rabbi Chaim Fasman and Kollel of Los Angeles for providing this list to the diverse group of kosher consumers who refer to this guide for reliable Pesach information. This Pesach Guide has benefited many ill and conscientious consumers who wish to fulfill the Hilchos Pesach and “Chumros d’Pesach”, as well as Rabbonim and kashrus professionals who must answer numerous Shailos regarding Pesach, in facilitating a Chag Kasher V’Sameach for countless individuals.

The Star-K Passover Directory & Abridged Medicine Guide 2014 is available FREE online. Click here to read the Abridged Web Edition online. Click here to download a PDF copy.

Click here to download The STAR-K FREE No “P” Required Shopping List and Quick Pick Medicine List.

The Full Star-K Passover Directory & Rabbi Bess/ Kollel Los Angeles Medicine Guide 2014 is now available in stores.

PC, Smartphone and Tablet Users Click here for directions to purchase the Medicine and Cosmetic Guide prepared by Rabbi Gershon Bess, Kollel Los Angeles as a digital APP.

{Gavriel Newscenter}


  1. The CRC has a much more lenient ruling:

    1. All medicines which are swallowed whole in pill form are permissible (even if they have chometz).

    2. Vitamins and food supplements do not necessarily fall into category 1.

    3. Liquid and chewable medicines with kitniyos may be used by a choleh. A healthy person must use such products only with a Kosher l’Pesach hashgachah.

    for more details.