If you thought reading food labels for gluten-free status was challenging, get ready to take your label reading skills up a few notches and investigate the bottles and boxes in your medicine cabinet. As with many food products, medications are also gluten-guilty until proven gluten-free. To determine whether or not your medications contain gluten requires time-consuming research. Keep in mind that over-the-counter and prescription medications do not abide by the same labeling protocol as foods do, so knowing what to look for and reading very carefully are even more important with medications than food. Never assume a medicine is gluten-free, particularly if you can’t read the cryptic language on the label. Medications can be havens for hidden gluten.
Making your medicine cabinet gluten-free deserves just as much vigilance as your kitchen: Remove everything from the cabinet, clean well, and let dry. Do not put anything back into the cabinet until you have determined its gluten-free status. You should even toss out your old toothbrush.
Sort your medications into two categories: those you take on a daily basis, and those you have on hand for occasional use. The ones you use daily will require immediate attention. But before spending time investigating the products you use infrequently, consider if you even want to bother. For example, instead of popping a throat lozenge or swallowing cough syrup, consider a gluten-free naturopathic remedy that can serve the same purpose, like gluten-free hot tea with honey and lemon or gargling with hot salt water.
Once you have sorted through what you need and want to keep, you’re ready to start reading the labels and package inserts.