Don’t Forget About Medication
The term gluten-free has been all the craze in the last decade. Many food, health, and wellness companies encourage a gluten-free diet. Not everyone is negatively affected by gluten. However, persons with celiac disease should be especially aware. Persons with celiac disease are great at avoiding foods with gluten. But there should be an emphasis on gluten-free medications too.
Understanding celiac disease
Celiac disease is a serious genetic condition that affects about 1% of the world population. Persons born with celiac disease have an autoimmune response when consuming gluten. This specifically affects the small intestine, creating an inflammatory response. The gluten in foods containing wheat, barley, and rye damages cells in the intestines. This can cause severe pain, malnutrition, unwanted weight loss, diarrhea, and other conditions. To avoid flareups, most persons with the disease follow a strict diet. This includes avoiding foods containing gluten like bread, pasta, beer, and grains.
More than a diet
While managing the disease can be as simple as managing one’s diet, there are other factors to consider. Some persons need medication to treat unrelated conditions or deficiencies as a result of celiac. Thanks to the FDA, most foods have labels that state either gluten-free or processed near products with gluten. However, medication is not mandated to do the same. Some pharmaceutical companies are transparent. However, many fail to inform the public. So what can persons with celiac do to identify gluten-free medications?
Speak with your doctor or pharmacist
Doctors, and especially pharmacists, are subject matter experts on the ingredients in medications. First, let the pharmacist or doctor know about celiac disease. Next, outline any current medications and future prescriptions. Based on experience, a pharmacist can help identify which medications contain gluten. From there, a gluten-free alternative can then be prescribed.
Crack the code behind the bottle
As a rule of thumb, most clear or liquid medications do not contain gluten. However, there are still many drugs on the market with gluten or processed near gluten. While some may contain small, harmless amounts, others can be harmful over time. Always read the ingredient list. The capsules that contain everyday medications may contain gluten. Some keywords to look out for include:
- Modified starch
- Pregelatinized modified starch
- Caramel coloring
Do some sleuthing
Sometimes, the best thing is to put on a detective hat and start researching. First, look at the label for any gluten-free signs or gluten warnings. If that fails, head online and visit the company’s website for an ingredient list or warnings about gluten. Then look for forums or social media groups that have had adverse reactions to the drug. Some online resources may even have a list of drugs by gluten content. With a little bit of time, people with celiac disease will be able to identify gluten-free medications.
Keep your medication gluten-free
Persons with celiac have to be careful with everything that goes into the body. Even medications with gluten, if taken over time, can have dangerous reactions. Identifying gluten-free medications can be difficult. But with some research and a pharmacist’s help, persons with celiac can take medications safely. For more information, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.