In prescription and over-the-counter medicines, fillers (also called “inactive ingredients” or “excipients”) are added to the active drug. Fillers provide shape and bulk for tablets and capsules, aid in water absorption (helping the tablet to disintegrate), and serve other purposes as well. Fillers can be derived from any starch source, including corn, potatoes, tapioca and wheat. Currently there is no law requiring the labeling of gluten in medication.
As a courtesy to the gluten-free community, Dr. Steven Plogsted of Nationwide Children’s hospital maintains a website that provides information regarding gluten-free drugs. This site is for informational purposes only and may contain inaccuracies. Dr. Plogsted advises that, “All persons should interpret the information with caution and should seek medical advice when necessary.”
Please note: There may be prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications that are gluten-free and are NOT included in his list, so always check with the manufacturer.
For more direct information or questions, you may contact the company directly.
“800″ Numbers for Pharmaceutical Companies
- Abbott Labs – 1-800-633-9110
- Bayer (Sterling Health) – 1-800-331-4536 & 1-800-332-2056
- Bristol-Meyers Squibb – 1-800-468-7746
- McNeil – 1-800-962-5357
- Proctor and Gamble – 1-800-395-0689
- Merck – 1-800-727-5400
- Pfizer – 800-438-1985
- Salix – 1-866-669-7597
- Eli Lilly – 1-800-545-5979
Vitamins and Supplements
Damage to the small intestine caused by celiac disease can compromise the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. This may lead to nutrient deficiencies in certain individuals, even after they have started following the gluten-free diet. Common deficiencies include iron, calcium and Vitamin D, as well as B12, copper, folate, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin and/or zinc. If you are concerned about nutrient deficiencies, talk to your doctor about what supplements may be right for you.