The sensitivity of controlled release dosage forms to the presence of ethanol in the gastro intestinal tract is critical, if the incorporated drug is potent and exhibits severe side effects. This is for instance the case for most opioid drugs. The co-ingestion of alcoholic beverages can lead to dose dumping and potentially fatal consequences. For these reasons the marketing of hydromorphone HCl extended release capsules (Palladone) was suspended. The aim of this study was to develop a novel type of controlled release film coatings, which are ethanol-resistant: Even the presence of high ethanol concentrations in the surrounding bulk fluid (e.g., up to 40%) should not affect the resulting drug release kinetics. Interestingly, blends of ethylcellulose and medium or high viscosity guar gums provide such ethanol resistance. Theophylline release from pellets coated with the aqueous ethylcellulose dispersion Aquacoat® ECD 30 containing 10 or 15% medium and high viscosity guar gum was virtually unaffected by the addition of 40% ethanol to the release medium. Furthermore, drug release was shown to be long term stable from this type of dosage forms under ambient and stress conditions (without packaging material), upon appropriate curing.