You will not believe what this doctor did to his patient.

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Health | 1 comment

You will not believe what this doctor did to his patient.

This week I had a conversation with a patient of mine that has Celiac disease and had been fastidious about staying away from gluten. She expressed frustration that she wasn’t getting any better. I asked her about all the foods she was eating, whether she was using using salad dressings with gluten, whether she had gluten in her cosmetics… then It dawned on me. It may be my fault that she’s not improving. There could be gluten hiding in the inactive ingredients of some of her medication.

Inactive Ingredients

In prescription and many over-the-counter medicines, fillers are added to the active drug. These fillers are often derived from starch sources (corn, potatoes, tapioca and wheat).

Your pharmacist may not even know if the medication is gluten free unless its specifically marked that way (very few medications are labeled as gluten free). Its difficult to tell if one of the inactive ingredients listed on the box is from gluten.

Cross Contamination

The drug company itself may not know for sure whether its medications are gluten-free (if they are generic they may out source the manufacturing of the pills). They should be able to look at the raw material list for that supplier to see if it’s derived from wheat. Some medications, like Synthroid, can’t be certified as gluten free because they are processed on machines that may have been used to process gluten containing medications (cross contamination). Synthroid, by the way, is the most commonly prescribed drug of 2013!

So what’s a person to do? Call the pharmacist first, they may be willing to do the leg work for you. If not, ask them to tell you who the manufacturer is and call them to see if their binders have gluten in them.

Why some celiac patients don’t improve

Why did I do this to my patient? I can assure you it wasn’t on purpose. Turns out that three of my patient’s medications had gluten as a binder. We’ve called the pharmacist and worked to find alternates that are gluten free. I’m confident that we can get her feeling better soon. Do your homework and make sure that your medications are gluten free if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease.

Dr Jeffrey Davis is a Family Physician and the owner of Prairie Health and Wellness. He’s married to a wonderful woman who has given him four beautiful children. Some days he gets to pretend to be a farmer with his chickens a donkey and his horse.

One Comment

  1. It is crazy that they don’t have to make it known that medications have gluten in them. Thank you for figuring it out.