It’s natural to think that your doctor should be able to tell you if the medications prescribed to you are gluten-free or not. But surprisingly, often the doctor will not know and will refer you to the pharmacist. And often, the pharmacist will not know and will refer you to the product manufacturer. As strange as this scenario may sound, when it comes to medications, you have to be the ultimate watchdog.
It’s always best to start with the package insert and to thoroughly read through the language in the “inactive” ingredients section for words that raise red flags (i.e., an unidentified starch). But what happens if you don’t have a package insert, or the slip distributed by the pharmacy was thrown away several doses ago?
The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) is an annually published guidebook that contains package insert information from the manufacturer on prescription drugs. The book is widely available in doctors’ offices, libraries, bookstores, and can be purchased online. It’s expensive, fetching $94.95 for the 2007 edition, so consider calling your local library first or ask if your doctor will allow you to glance at the office’s copy.
You can also contact a national celiac disease support organization to ask for their recommendations on Web sites they trust with lists of drugs or helpful products for you to reference. But keep in mind the following about any Web site resource: they are often created and maintained by individuals like you and me, and their lists may not include all drugs, be fully updated, or be accurate. Ingredients can change without notice from a manufacturer. Always be cautious and use your discretion. When in doubt, call the drug manufacturer.