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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac Disease Drug Shows Some Promise, But Offers No Cure

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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.


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    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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    What would be the long term effects of such a drug? I would love additional protection from the cross contamination that seems to stalk me, but the last thing I need to deal with are side effects or damage from another drug. Any word on that?

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    What would be the long term effects of such a drug? I would love additional protection from the cross contamination that seems to stalk me, but the last thing I need to deal with are side effects or damage from another drug. Any word on that?

    This drug is in early trials, so it's impossible to know about long-term effects. So far, the drug seems to be well-tolerated, but only extensive testing and time can answer your question with any certainty.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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