Celiac.com 10/14/2014 - A new drug designed to prevent gluten uptake in the gut is showing some promise for the treatment of celiac disease.

Photo: Drs. Mayo Stamp--Wikimedia CommmonsThe drug, larazotide acetate, significantly reduced symptoms in a large double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The drug prevents gluten uptake by closing tight junctions in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The drug is intended to supplement, rather than replace, the gluten-free diet that makes up the standard celiac disease treatment. Specifically, the drug is designed to help patients who continue to experience symptoms despite efforts to avoid gluten, and will not allow celiac patients to eat gluten with impunity.

Some experts are cautioning celiac disease patients against high expectations. Joseph A. Murray, MD, of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, said that, even if the drug is approved, it would not be a cure for celiac disease, but just another way to control symptoms for those already on a gluten-free diet.

Daniel Leffler, MD, director of research at the Celiac Center of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, called the news “exciting.” Dr. Leffler predicted that, if approved, the drug would be a useful addition to standard celiac disease treatment.


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