Ask the Dietitian: Gluten in medications

Question: I have been advised by my primary doctor not to use perscription drugs because they do not have to say if the fillers they use are wheat or barley. My insurance charges more for non generic and some of the meds are unafordable. Can you give me advise on this as It’s costly enough at the grocery store. My primary doctor is also a Celiac. Thanks for your time.

Answer: Your physician is correct in that medications do not fall under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, which applies to food. Rather than reinvent this wheel, I would like to refer you to the website of pharmacist expert, Steve Plogsted, RPh. Steve has identified a long list of prescription & over-the-counter meds which have been deemed gluten-free, ingredients to question, questions for your pharmacist & manufacturers, a list of manufacturer brand practices, etc. I’ve also included a link to an informative interview he gave a couple years ago:

If you don’t get your questions answered in these two places or through your pharmacist or manufacturer, Steve welcomes questions via e-mail on his site. Lastly, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives last fall with a goal of helping to clarify this matter of gluten in medications. No action has been taken on the bill as of this date. Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2015

Important note: Countless prescription (brand & generic) and over-the-counter medications are considered to be gluten-free. Best to you in evaluating yours.

Trisha Lyons, RDN, LD

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