Medication and gluten
From college to university I worked as a technical assistant in a pharmacy. I can't thank my dad enough for presenting me to this environment, which has allowed me to acquire knowledge that is very useful to me today. Thanks to my friend Karl, who gave me my first chance as an assistant! You are the best ;) In addition to being a pharmacist and an adorable dad, this pharmacist runs marathons by ten AM. I admire him! There is also my friend and confidante Maude who must be to this day the best pharmacist that mankind has known. I had the good fortune of being her assistant for two years, after years of having lost sight of each other.
If I'm telling you about these wonderful people, it is because the profession sometimes has bad press. I met pharmacists during my career as a technical assistant. Good ones, bad ones. As in anything. But be aware that maintaining a good relationship with your local pharmacist is essential.
Yes as celiacs you also run a risk with medications of all kinds. These drugs may contain gluten, whether it is a prescription or vitamins taken from the shelves.
What can you do? First, as you're used to, read the labels. However, these do not reveal everything and can be confusing. Talk to your pharmacist. First, gluten intolerance should be listed on your computer record as an allergy. Thus, when the assistant enters the prescription in your file, if the new drug in question is problematic, a signal should appear. If there is a problem, the pharmacist may switch to a generic drug, or in some cases, call the doctor and change the prescription.
And don't forget, pharmaceutical companies can change ingredients in their products at any time. A fine example: Advil liqui-gel.... Members of the Quebec Celiac Disease Foundation were inconvenienced after taking capsules. They informed the foundation that did its work and contacted Pfyzer to discover that a non-medicinal ingredient had been modified and that the product could no longer be considered gluten-free. (The full link on this communication: https://www.fqmc.org/nouvelles/gluten-dans-advil-liqui-gels)
You may be asking yourself what can be problematic in these products. Often, it is not in the active substance of the drug that gluten is found, but in the excipient that is the associated substance. The excipient gives a consistency to the pill you hold in your hands. Gluten can be wheat starch, starch, wheat maltodextrin or barley. It can also be in a dye, in the dextrin or in the gelatins. In short, as always, be vigilant. If, like me, you have headaches sometimes, consider rereading your labels even if they are products you have always consumed. I really got a shock when I saw this news about the Advil. Better safe than sorry (or sore 🤒)