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  • Jefferson Adams

    Etanercept Triggers Remission of Severe Aphthous Stomatitis (Canker Sores) in Celiac Disease Patient

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      The case of celiac patient with severe canker sores who experienced remission and major improvement with etanercept treatment merits attention.

    Image: CC BY 2.0--p_a_h
    Caption: Image: CC BY 2.0--p_a_h

    Celiac.com 01/27/2020 - Celiac disease is a common autoimmune disease triggered by gluten in wheat, barley and rye in people with a genetic predisposition. We've reported before about the connection between celiac disease and apthous stomatitis (canker sores). The case of celiac patient with severe canker sores who experienced remission and major improvement with etanercept treatment merits attention.

    A team of physicians recently reported the case of a celiac patient who suffered from severe aphthous stomatitis (canker sores) that caused difficulty swallowing, chewing and speaking. The problem triggered weight loss, social and psychological problems, and interfered with her ability to do her job.

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    Worse yet, nothing seemed to work. Various topical and systemic medications either did nothing or provided only limited relief. Doctors were stumped.

    Finally, they got the patient to agree to treatment with etanercept, which led to complete remission of aphthous stomatitis, decrease in arthralgia and fatigue, along with major improvement in patient quality of life. 

    The treatment team notes that new treatments, like etanercept, for some of the more severe expressions of celiac disease could offer major symptom and quality of life improvements for many patients. However, these drugs are not well studied for such cases, so the team is calling for more study to assess the long-term efficacy and safety of these drugs, along with the mucosal and/or systemic complications of celiac disease.

    For up to date information on aphthous ulcers, aka canker sores, and celiac disease, check out the this site's Forum.

    Source: Clin Mol Allergy. 2013; 11: 6.


    The research team included Adey Hasan, Hiren Patel, Hana Saleh, George Youngberg, John Litchfield, and Guha Krishnaswamy. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Internal Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA; the Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, East Tennessee State University, PO Box 70622, Johnson City, TN, USA; the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA; the Department of Pathology, Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA; and with the Department of Medicine, Quillen College of Medicine, Johnson City, TN 37614-0622, USA.

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    This article would be far more informative with a simple clarification that Etanercept is a medication. Are these articles only written for medical professionals?

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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 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. 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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