Gluten is used in many medications as an excipient, so it is important for people with celiac disease to check with the manufacturer to be sure that each medication they take is gluten-free.
Some patients may ask for their pharmacist’s help in reading the list of ingredients or contacting the manufacturer directly.
It’s also important for pharmacists to be aware that medications may not work as expected in people with undiagnosed celiac disease, due to possible problems with malabsorption.
* There are currently NO requirements for labeling gluten or common allergens found in drug ingredients.
* There are NO specific precautions for individuals with celiac disease in labeling.
* Potential sources of gluten in medication excipients are NOT well-recognized by health professionals or patients.
* Botanical sources of starch may not be specified.
* Generic formulations may include different excipients than the brand-name drug.
Starches found in medications: Starch derivatives:
* Dextrates (source not specified)
* Dextrin (source not specified but usually corn or potato)
* Dextrimaltose (when barley malt is used)
* Caramel coloring (when barley malt is used)
* Corn (most common)
* Modified starch (source not specified)
* Pregelatinized starch (source not specified)
* Pregelatinized modified starch (source not specified)
Manufacturers: Some drug manufacturers can advise a patient who contacts them about the gluten content of a particular medication. On the web: www.glutenfreedrugs.com. (Maintained by a pharmacist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio)
In Print: A Guide through the Medicine Cabinet. A book developed to give those who suffer with Celiac Disease the tools to choose medications and supplements that meet special dietary requirements.
Article Courtesy: Tina Turbin
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