The effect of medicines on the olfactory system

The effect of medicines on the olfactory system


Olfaction is the sense of smell. A pharmaceutical drug, also referred to as medicine, medication or medicament, can be loosely defined as any chemical substance intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.


The aim is to find smelly drugs


A closed leading question was sent as a tweet was sent to 370 people that follow @MrDispenser asking to tell me about drugs that smell good or bad. No financial inducement was given. Ethics approval was not obtained. An application for funding was made and denied by the National Lottery. Consent was obtained via direct message for tweets to appear in this report.


30 people replied.

Table 1: Table to show gender of people that replied

Gender Number
Male 7
Female 21
Unable to work out as name is ambiguous and profile pic is not a face pic 2

My tweet was retweeted once. Two people did not give consent for their tweets to appear. Two did not reply so consent was given on their behalf

Selection of tweets

@zams123: depakote does smell like cannabis.

@L1ttlepetal: my dispenser ex bar manager said it smells like stale beer



This was very popular and my personal favourite too!

@josephbush cannot beat Neo-Mercazole

@indisangar neo-mercazole smells like strawberry milkshake

@susieminney carbimazole smell of milkshake



Another popular choice

@laura_anne182  prefer Celevac. Serial tub-sniffer

@JustHelenYeah Celevac has to be the best for smell and colour

@Mushypea Celevac… just like strawberry milkshake


Bendroflumethiazide 2.5mg

This is the ronseal of tablets

@laura_anne182 Bendro 2.5mg (tubs of 500) smells like a chair in an old folks home.

@indisangar bendro smells like p**s, kind of appropriate, isn’t it?

@jommcmillan bendros smell like what they do

@cathrynjbrown Bad = bendro,

@susieminney bendroflumethiazide smells like stale wee. Ironic really.

@zams123 I like the musky smell of bendros! Weird I know!



Also popular

@catrionabrodie: Nabumetone (especially Relifex) smells like butterscotch

@alkemist 1912: Relifex smell of butterscotch

@Mushypea:  Relifex was like butterscotch

@cathrynjbrown good: relifex


Vitamin B

Controversial tablet

@PatelSuk  Can’t believe no one’s mentioned Vitamin B compound. Weirdly addictive

@Anj17 I don’t like vitamin B. ewww smell.

@susieminney I love the smell of vitamin B in any shape or form

Vitamin caps BPC

Another controversial one

@laura_anne182 Funny how the smells can grow on you. I am now quite fond of the stinky vitamin caps

@lilygidley vitamin caps like Bovril

@JoMyattL I love vitamin caps BPC

@zams123 vitamin bpc caps smell horrible.

@josephbush vit caps = Bovril-y goodness

@NeelmSaina vitamin bpc capsules… Marmite smell?

@cathrynjbrown  Bad:  vitamin caps bpc



Strong views on these common drugs

@Anj17 the banana amox.. yummy

@NeelmSaina bad = cephalexin caps

@Sairah_Banu flucloxacillin smells of the 1p sherberts

@Mushypea: fluclox caps are suphur like

@cathrynjbrown:  Bad:  flucloxacillin caps

@laura_anne182: Ciproxin susp smells like barrats fruit salads

@adamplum love the smell of fluclox mixture

@clareylang yes I agree. The liquid is completely the opposite of the caps

@cathrynbrown  Oh yes, the waft of amoxil or distaclor powder as you pour the water in

@clareylang Augmentin Duo smells well nice

@susieminney cephalosporins smell of cat wee

@becky_ross_23 Co-danthramer suspension smells exactly like tinned peaches



The smell is explained with science!

@zams123 Aspirin 75mg disp smells of salt and vinegar crisps

@clareylang aspirin really does smell like that

@adamplum cos acetyl-salicylic acid breaks down to acetic acid



Smells like toothpaste

@EmmTurner spironolactone smells like menthol

@Pillmanuk spironolactone used to smell of minty wee



@tinaallsup: Neoral smells very strongly of beer. No complaints

@pakili1981: lamotrigine smells like lollies

@Sareenuh Vicks VapoRub Mmmmmm@mgcmitchell capol yum yum

@mgcmitchell pabrinex, TPN, and coal tar are bad

@Sairah_Banu: fentanyl patches smell really weird as well

@jommcmillan: Anybody remember Junifen? Used to smell like lemon puff biscuits

@pillmanuk NEVER smell heminevrin liquid

@misspill never break a full bottle in the dispensary either

Two people have said that Mecysteine smells horrible!

27 drugs were mentioned.


Drugs smell. Vitamin caps BPC was the most commented drug. Relifex and Celevac were the best smelling drugs. Bendroflumethiazde was the worst smelling drug.

Future research

Use facebook too


MURs will never be boring again



One thought on “The effect of medicines on the olfactory system

  1. Co-codamol 30/500 smells like a McChicken sandwich. Also, here’s a true fact, manufacturers employ someone specifically to fart into tubs of flucloxacillin and cefalexin. Depakote doesn’t just smell like weed, it smells like the sweat of someone who smokes a lot of weed. I believe the smell of Vit B12 is best described as “Umami” (look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about; knowledge is power. Although try telling that to British Gas). If you’ve ever smelled a Zoton Fastab, you’ll know they’re wonderful. Jilly Goolden has nothing on me. (apart from those Polaroids, but as long as I get the money to the park by 7pm it’ll be OK).

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