Gluten in Medication

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Lifestyle | 0 comments

Do you find it difficult to determine if there is gluten in your medication or supplement? ME TOO!

Why? Because it isn’t clear!

Gluten can go by many different names other than gluten, wheat, barley or rye and it is darn difficult to keep track of them.

There are currently NO legal requirements for gluten to be labeled as an allergen in medication. There is continual lobbying going on by great non profit organizations in order for this to hopefully happen in the future, but to date the FDA has not come through.

There are risks for the celiac disease community when gluten is left off a medication label:

  • Manufacturers use excipients, which bind pills together and help deliver the medication to the patient. There are several types of excipients, and some of them may contain gluten.
  • Few medications actually contain gluten, but it is important that the ingredients of each medication are explored to find the source of excipients – and to verify the particular drug is gluten-free.
  • The generic form of a medication may use different excipients than the brand name drug. Even if the brand name is determined to be gluten-free, the gluten-free status of each generic must be verified.

Therefore, it is always important to check your medications. How to do this?

  • Read the label: this can be super challenging with unknown words!
  • Call the pharmacetical or supplement developer: they always have a customer service line where you can ask questions about ingredients.
  • Ask your pharmacist if you are picking up a prescription drug. They may be able to help.

The following inactive ingredients are considered “red flags,” as they may be sourced from wheat, barley or rye. The presence of red-flag ingredients indicates that there is a need for additional investigation to determine if the drug’s ingredients were derived from gluten:

  • Wheat
  • Modified starch (if source is not specified)
  • Pregelatinized starch (if source is not specified)
  • Pregelatinized modified starch (if source is not specified)
  • Dextrates (if source is not specified)
  • Dextrin (if source is not specified; the source is usually corn or potato which is acceptable)
  • Dextrimaltose (when barley malt is used)
  • Caramel coloring (when barley malt is used)

This website has a comprehensive alphabetical list of drugs. Keep in mind that ingredients can change at any time and it is still good to check current ingredients:

Thankfully, many celiac disease advocacy organizations are lobbying for permanent labeling changes. Crossing fingers and toes that this happens very soon!

As always, be your own advocate and make sure you know what’s going in to your body!

Reach out with any questions, any time!

Sending all my sunshine to you,


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