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gluten in medicationsIs There Gluten In Medications?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported a story about a New York resident filing a law suit against the FDA for not adequately regulating gluten in medications.  Currently their is no confirmed or verified database on medications being dispensed and the possibility that they may contain gluten.  Additionally, there is no policy in place in pharmaceutical manufacturing that prevents the potential for cross contamination of gluten in medications.  So the short answer to – Is there gluten in medications? is YES.

When contacted, about this issue, the FDA spokesperson declined to comment due to the pending litigation issue.  The FDA has a slow history as it relates to gluten labeling.  As a matter of fact, it was only in August of 2014 that a label standard for foods was actually put into place.  You should be aware that alcohol and medications were exempt from this new law.

Hidden Gluten in Prescription Drugs

I have seen a number of patients who were gluten sensitive and taking a prescribed medication that contained gluten.  This issue is one of the biggest hidden dangers celiac patient’s face, and that’s why I am excited to bring you an interview with the gluten free pharmacist, Steve Plogstead. Steve’s focus is on helping celiac patients identify the potential for hidden gluten in medications. Click the link below to listen to the full interview.

>>> Click Here to Listen <<<

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Read the transcript…

Dr. O:           This is Dr. Osborne with Gluten Free Society. I have a very special interview for all of you in Gluten Free World. Today we’re going to be talking with Steve, he’s a pharmacist.

I’m going to turn it over to you and let you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and what you’re up to.

Steve:          My name is Steve Plogstead. My full-time job is as a clinical pharmacist at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It’s called Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I’ve been there for a little over 20 years.

Part of my coverage is nutrition for pediatric patients. I also do gastroenterology on the side as my clinical activities. Somewhere in 1995 my practitioner who is an expert in Celiac Disease asked me to give a talk to her local support group. There were about 75 patents at that time.

They asked me to talk about gluten medications. I knew very little about gluten or Celiac Disease back in those days. Again, this is 1995 and I discovered that the most recent article about gluten medications was written in 1984. There was really nothing written way back then and nothing between 1984 and 1995 of any substance.

I offered my services to help these people determine if these medications had any gluten in them. As I started getting more questions I put them out using a free e-mail service like Gmail. A few years later I purchased my own website called Gluten Free Drugs which I run just from home or my office depending on what time I have to do that. That is how I got started in this business. Ever since that I’m just posting all my questions and answers online as I get the results.

Dr. O:           You just spend a lot of time communicating with a lot of different pharmaceutical companies trying to discern hidden origins or hidden potential gluten and then sharing that information with people who are trying to follow a gluten free diet?

To keep reading, click the link >>> interview transcript here <<<

What Is Your Experience with Gluten Exposure in Medications

If you have experienced gluten cross contamination in your medication, please share your experience below.  List the medicine name as well.  You might just help save someone from years of gluten induced damage and a lot of grief.

Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

comments

27 responses on “FDA Sued Over Glutens in Medication

  1. Gail leeds says:

    I find it insane that there are no laws governing labeling. Such as pain to micro manage everything

  2. Michael says:

    I have celiac and gluten ataxia. I take Armour thyroid. I not only have to ask that my pills be counted out by hand with clean equipment, but the pills have to be taken from unopened bottles. Business as usual is to run all pills through a counting machine, contaminating all and putting the remainder back into the bottle. Once they were not able to fill an order while I waited, and did not pass the infirmation on or forgot. By the time they got ahold of me I had taken 6 contaminated pills and was symptomatic. I had pyloric spasms for 6 days.

    The pharmacists have to call the manufacturers of generic drugs every time to make sure a drug is gluten-free. The manufacturers never guarantee because they do not test ingredients. I don’t understand why the pharmacy chains don’t lobby the FDA, just to save them time and money. I guess everybody is afraid of Big Pharma.

  3. Michelle Wesler says:

    It has been a struggle with taking gluten free meds. I got super sick on Armour. I took the Lipitor generic and got sick and now I have to take the name brand. When I go to the pharmacy to get the name brand which the doctor has as medically necessary the pharmacists 1st tells me they don’t keep name brands in stock and he just couldn’t understand why I would need to spend so much – I explained that I have celiac and I have no way of knowing what the “fillers” are in the medication. The pharmacist said I was being ridiculous, but ordered the name brand and I had to pay with my insurance $300 for a thirty day supply. If we could be sure what the fillers are in the generic brand then we could have a choice but with the rules allowing the generic companies to be non transparent we don’t have choices.
    Additionally, Pharmacists should not be able to try to talk us out of name brand – our pharmacist will not call to find out if something is gluten free.
    PS – I got sick on Armour
    This is an unjust situation.

    • GFWSally says:

      What a shame you have had to go through so much Michelle. Thanks for your comment. It is so helpful for others to read about your struggles. You should absolutely find a new pharmacy where they treat you with consideration.

      • Cecilia says:

        I take Armour Thyroid 120 mg. I have taken it for almost 18 years. I have to pay for it. The insurance
        Doesn’t pay for Armour, because is “natural” from pork. I am gluten and wheat intolerant. It never occurred to me check the meds. !!!. I thought corn was ok!!!, what do I do now??

    • Jill says:

      Michelle, I’m so sorry this happened to you…..that’s not only appalling, but unprofessional and dangerous! I suggest you complain about that pharmacist’s behavior to the pharmacy owner. Also, I highly recommend that you use a different pharmacy, one that actually cares. There must be a way to file a complaint against a pharmacist in your state, please google it!

    • GINA says:

      Michelle it is time to find a new pharmacy I go to a small pharmacy which is part of Walgreen but in a small town and they check everything for me

    • Mary says:

      Check out the possible serious side effects of ALL statin drugs and consider asking your doctor to stop taking it if that is what you wish.

    • Shirley Burns says:

      Change to NatureThyroid. It’s cheap and gluten free

  4. Melissa Jones says:

    I was getting terrible migraines until my doctor told me the Armour I was taking wasn’t guaranteed to be gluten free, and no regular thyroid medication is. He put me on Tirisint, a gel-cap, and I haven’t had a bad migraine since. It’s expensive but I’ve gotten off my migraine medications, and feel so much better, so it’s worth it. (It would be nice if insurance paid more than $10 toward it, since it saves them a lot by making many other medications and doctor visits unnecessary.)

    • Merris Custer says:

      Hello, I have just been switched to Tirosint from my Dr. And was shocked with the cost. I have celiac and also had my large intestine removed because of leaky gut.
      So it sounds like the product is worth the price for you right?

    • Frankie says:

      My thyroid med is compounded and gluten and corn free. I am told that the filler is baking soda. There is apparently a movement under way being orchestrated by the pharma cos. to severely mark up compounded med ingredients in an effort to force our hand to buy their products. Me thinks The Revolution ought to extend to them, too!

  5. Jean Hooper says:

    Hi
    I have just been thrown off a Forum for stating that a lot of drugs contain gluten and maize.

  6. Sharon Zullo says:

    I am allergic to many foods and apparently, dyes too. The PA told me he was prescribing 1/2 of a 50 mcg of Levothyroxine. But when I got to the pharmacy it was the 25 mcg. A couple of days on that and I almost went into full anaphylaxis. I went to my dr, thinking it was the restaurant food I ate, but she’s smart and figured it out. The pharmacists do always look at you like you’re a bit cuckoo. They often tell me to call. I’vevtried different places, none better than the other. I’ve asked them to mark my file so it’s checked (this time only the week prior since I moved) but obviously they didn’t. I’m going to another food allergy specialist to see what other things I need to avoid. But medicine shouldn’t be one of them. Our government has failed us on this big time. When you have a “maybe” illness like fibromyalgia, many doctors dismiss what you say. I’m just glad this doc, who I waited 2 years to get in with, is intrigued by the illness caused by fillers and preservatives. And is super willing to work with me on alternative medicine treatments and these food allergy issues. I’m guessing many of the people on medications today, are sicker by taking it. Something really has to be done. But like Coca Cola in the American Dietetic society pocket, big pharma is in the pocket of the government. And spends millions pushing physicians to write their prescriptions. We must be our own advocates & share what we know. Keep up the faith

  7. Claire Choquette says:

    Where did any or all of you get texted to see what you are not compatible with? Did your insurance pay for your testing? Im Only 6 months into this & feel very nervous about if! Thanks

  8. Roz says:

    Ive been celiac for yrs its difficult to find a pharmacist to be diligent but we are our own best advocates. Ive also had fibromyalgia and cfs for 19 yrs. like many of u,we manage our daily health.
    I think youre all doing a great job of managing!!

  9. Michael says:

    If Hillary is elected president, I think we need to push very hard to get gluten eliminated from all medications. After all, her daughter is one of us. Hillary claims to be the original children’s health reformer. We celiacs have to realize that we are the most discriminated against group in society by the lack of laws to protect us, and that our genes are much older than the practice of eating wheat, that wheat is antinutritional for all human beings, and that corporate pharmaceutical capitalism and its attitude are genocidal and Nazi fascist inspired.

  10. Annette says:

    I have been on Armour for the last 6 months, I have been going insane with rashes all over head, ears elbows and upper thighs. Finally a nurse practitioner took me off Armour because I asked her to now back on synthroid. Rashes are still here dermatology dr did biopsy a on ,y elbows he tiny filled blisters. Waiting in results, also I take omeprazole that’s probably filled as well. What do I do? I am going crazy.

    • Annette,
      Talk to your doctor about writing you a prescription for compounded medication. Ask that it be made with no grain based fillers.
      Let us know how it turns out.
      All the best,
      Dr. Osborne

  11. Grace gallagher says:

    Can anyone tell me is amitripiyne plaqquneil asprin is gluten free im doing 100 percent gluten free tested very high for its not 3 weeks into not one bit of improvement

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Peter Osborne, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Osborne and his community. Dr. Osborne encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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