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Gluten-Free Medications and Supplements

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, anything you ingest can cause problems if it’s not gluten-free — even a tiny pill. Be sure to check the label first, because some products actually say “gluten-free” right on the label.

Starch and modified food starch in pharmaceuticals may come from wheat. If you see either of these on the label, call the manufacturer and find out more about where the starch is from.

If you’re wondering about a prescription drug, ask the pharmacist if he or she knows whether the product is gluten-free. If the pharmacist doesn’t know, ask for the package insert and use the pharmacy’s Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) to look up the name and phone number of the manufacturer. Then you can just call the manufacturer and find out.

Some tips to keep in mind as you consider medications and supplements:

  • Have your pharmacist make a notation in the computer, either under your personal records or under the record for that drug, indicating whether the product is gluten-free. That way you’ll know for the future, as will others who ask.

  • If the product is over-the-counter, call the manufacturer to ensure the drug’s gluten-free status. Usually, the drug company sends you a list of all the gluten-free products it makes and you can keep the list on hand.

    Figure out which of the over-the-counter products you commonly use are gluten-free. Painkillers, fever-reducers, cold medications, and anti-inflammatories, for instance, are often gluten-free — but you sure don’t want to be wondering about it at 1 a.m. when your child’s earache is keeping him — and you — up at night.

  • Write “GF” in permanent marker on the medication container. That way you don’t wonder whether the drug’s safe when you need to take it.

  • Glutenfreedrugs.com has information on many products; you also can take a look at some of the product guides and downloadable databases commercially available.

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