There’s gluten in medications? Sometimes, yes. Both prescription and over the counter medications and vitamins can be hidden sources of gluten.
Nora has a sinus infection that refuses to go away. First she was on Amoxicillin and when I asked our pharmacy to check if it was gluten-free they said they’d have to call the manufacturer. Probably 5 days later, after she was almost finished with the prescription, they called me back to tell me that the manufacturer’s response was, “No ingredients are derived from gluten; however, we cannot certify the product to be gluten-free.” What does that mean? “You can’t certify it.” I’m not asking for a gold stamp, just some simple information, but thank you for the vague language.
Now, two days later, I’m back at the pediatrician’s office with Nora, still hacking away with her cough, which she’s had for a month now. On to Augmentin. This time, I thought ahead and asked the pediatrician if he could check if it was gluten-free. His response, “I’ve never had anyone ask me that before.” I find that both surprising and frightening. I’m not sure how many celiacs he has in his practice, but I know we aren’t the only ones, and I’m sure there will only be more as doctors become more aware of its prevalence. After all, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease. However, “it is estimated that 85% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.”
But I digress, back to gluten-free medications. Thankfully, my pediatrician saved me the effort and called Nora’s GI doc to discuss the concerns. She reassured him that Augmentin was indeed gluten-free and that for future inquiries, we could check http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/. If you scroll to the bottom there are several PDFs that you can download regarding gluten content in medications and vitamins. Our pediatrician wanted to also give her a probiotic along with the Augmentin, but the one he suggested DID have gluten in it.
When we are faced with adversity, it is often easy to feel helpless. My response to that is find the information I need and to pass it along to others who might also need it. I now have one more valuable resource that puts the power back in my hands, and I can rest assured that Nora will receive safe medications. And to top it off, I have educated our pediatrician on the dangers of hidden gluten in medications.
Ingredients in any food or medication can change from time to time. For the most up-to-date gluten information, contact the manufacturer directly.