Celiac.com 05/04/2009 - In the rush to vaccinate people in the wake of the latest outbreak of H1N1 "Swine" flu virus, a number of people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance have asked about the gluten-free status of drugs given for the treatment of swine flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has a page dedicated to antiviral medicines and swine influenza. That website contains the following information:

To treat H1N1/swine flu, or prevent the flu in people one year of age or older who have been exposed to the virus, the CDC recommends oseltamivir (Tamiflu®). When contacted, Roche representatives stated that all Roche products, including Tamiflu, are gluten-free.

To treat H1N1/swine flu infection in people 7 years of age and older, or to prevent infection in people 5 years and older, the CDC recommends zanamivir (Relenza®). When contacted, GSK representatives stated that gluten is not one of the active or inactive ingredients in Relenza, but that GSK cannot guarantee that the product is free from potential cross-contamination.

Please be aware that this information applies only to products available in the U.S. For drugs obtained internationally, contact the manufacturers directly.

Resources:

Zanamivir (Relenza)
Glaxo Smith Kline
(888) 825-5249

Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
Roche Pharmaceuticals
(800) 526-6367

Source: Nancy Lapid, About.com Guide to Celiac Disease

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