Soy allergy and soy lecithin
For patients allergic to soy, do they need to watch out for soy lecithin?
Soy lecithin is derived from highly processed soy oil and has very little, if any, soy protein (100-500 ppm). Most allergists do not recommend that patients with soy allergy avoid soy lecithin. Organizational on-line sources (FARE, FAARP, CoFAR) indicate that food products containing soy lecithin can be consumed safely by nearly all patients with soy allergy. A literature search found few case reports of allergic reactions that have been attributed to soy lecithin. The degree of risk for use of soy lecithin-containing medications in patients who have soy allergy has not been extensively studied. Considering the small amount of protein present, the risk of a reaction from these medications is thought to be very small, yet there are case reports of reactions. Consequently, the use of these medications in highly sensitive soy-allergic patients is usually avoided. However, if no alternatives exist and the medication is necessary, after a discussion of risks vs benefits, one might consider administration of the first dose under medical observation.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Jacqueline A. Pongracic, MD, FAAAAI