More drug manufacturers are beginning to remove allergens, including gluten, from their products, but this is an evolution in the industry and will take time. While companies reformulate their products to find other ingredients that will serve as binders, fillers, coatings, or diluents, you need to be very aware of any possible gluten.
You can begin by looking at the label on the package just to get an overview, but for thorough information it’s best to go straight to the package insert for the ingredients. The first ingredient listed on the insert will be the chemical name of the product, and this is of no use to your investigation, look for the “inactive ingredients” list. In this section, you’ll find words that will seem more familiar to you from reading food labels, and you have to determine the food source. For example, if you see words like starch, vegetable, malt, or protein, you need to take your investigation to the next level and call the product manufacturer. Any starch that is not identified with the food source, such as potato, rice, tapioca, or wheat, is automatically a suspect.
Also, if you find maltodextrin listed, beware. Even though this ingredient is usually gluten-free in foods in the United States, its status is unclear in pharmaceuticals, particularly if the drug was manufactured overseas.
Look for any ingredient that refers to “dusting powder.” The source must be identified through the manufacturer.
And watch out for Dextimaltose, an ingredient that combines dextrin (gluten-free) and maltose (which can be produced from barley malt and makes this ingredient a suspect).