Pharmacies and Gluten in Medication

Gluten is used in many medications as an excipient, so it is important for people with celiac disease to check with the manufacturer to be sure that each medication they take is gluten-free.

Some patients may ask for their pharmacist’s help in reading the list of ingredients or contacting the manufacturer directly.

It’s also important for pharmacists to be aware that medications may not work as expected in people with undiagnosed celiac disease, due to possible problems with malabsorption.

The Problem:

* There are currently NO requirements for  labeling gluten or common 
 found in drug ingredients.

* There are NO specific precautions for individuals with celiac disease in 

* Potential sources of gluten in medication excipients are NOT 
well-recognized by 
health professionals or patients.

* Botanical sources of starch may not be specified.

* Generic formulations may include different excipients than the 
brand-name drug.

Starches found in medications:
 Starch derivatives:

* Dextrates (source not specified)

* Dextrin (source not  specified but usually corn or potato)

Other excipients:

* Dextrimaltose  (when barley malt is used)

* Caramel coloring (when barley malt is used)

* Corn (most common)

* Modified starch (source not specified)

* Potato

* Pregelatinized starch (source not specified)

* Wheat

* Tapioca

* Pregelatinized modified starch (source not  specified)

Manufacturers: Some drug manufacturers can advise a patient who contacts them about the 
content of a particular medication.
  On the web: (Maintained by
a pharmacist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus,  Ohio)

In Print: A Guide through the Medicine Cabinet. 
A book developed to  give those who suffer with Celiac Disease the tools to choose medications and  supplements that meet special dietary requirements.

Tina Turbin

From our home to yours, Tina Turbin
If you have any questions or suggestions just email me at info (at)

About Us

I'm a cookbook-collecting, recipe-developing paleo junkie, and I live in the kitchen. I'm hooked on farmers' markets, traveling, eating healthy, and hiking until my legs scream at me. There's nothing better than hanging out with family and good friends. I have fun and sleeping is just plain boring. Read more About Tina Turbin.

One thought on “Pharmacies and Gluten in Medication

  1. I saw this on your other blog, too, at, for those who want to check out this other blog it’s great too although ti’s not just about gluten free and celiac disease. A Guide through the Medicine Cabinet is a great resource. A friend of mine owns this and whenever the kids get sick–they’re both celiac–I borrow this book. I still recommend always calling the manufacturer yourself because you never know if anything changes.

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