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Will Kids be the Biggest Beneficiaries of New Celiac Disease Treatments?

Celiac.com 10/09/2015 - For each the past three years, the FDA has sponsored a public workshop focusing on end points and clinical outcomes for drug development in GI diseases. The program is known as the Gastroenterology Regulatory Endpoints and the Advancement of Therapeutics, or by the acronym: GREAT.

This year, GREAT 3, celiac disease was the focus. Experts addressed topics that included difficulties in assembling an appropriate target population for pharmacologic therapy, defining and measuring efficacy in clinical celiac disease trials, and the timing of assessment end points. One of the key points made during the conference concerned the special challenges for kids with celiac disease, including lower rates of compliance with a gluten-free diet.

Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the Center for Celiac Research at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, in Boston, said that the data shows that only about 1 in 3 of adults with celiac disease are compliant with a gluten-free diet, with lower compliance in children. Because of this, he notes, "there is an even stronger need for pharmacologic therapies than in the pediatric population than in the adult population."

Kids want to "fit in," says Dr. Fassano, and so providing "a pharmacologic safety net for children who want to attend a birthday party or sleepover, so that they do not have to worry about what they eat, could make a huge difference in their lives."

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College students are another high-risk group for noncompliance, and many campus cafeterias still struggle to provide safe gluten-free diets. He noted that although repeated endoscopies are recommended for monitoring celiac disease in adults, they are not advised in children.

Overall, it seems that children and young people might be the main beneficiaries of drug treatments for celiac disease, though anyone with high sensitivity and a risk of gluten contamination would also likely benefit form such therapies.

As a whole, the group in attendance seemed to be in agreement that, while much work remains to advance the treatment of celiac disease, researchers "know more about this inflammatory disease than virtually any other disease in the immune category. We should be able to come up with alternatives to a gluten-free diet."

What do you think? Would you welcome an alternative to a gluten-free diet for your celiac disease? 

Read more at: Gastrendonews.com

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It took me 20 years or more Barry so I wouldn't claim any great insight on this I had a 'eureka' moment, up until then I was walking around with multiple symptoms and not connecting any dots whatsoever. It is very, very difficult to diagnose and that's something that's reflected in so many of the experiences detailed here. A food diary may help in your case. It helped me to connect the gaps between eating and onset. It could help you to track any gluten sources should you go gluten free. It is possible for your reactions to change over time. As to whether its celiac, that's something you could explore with your doctor, stay on gluten if you choose to go that way. best of luck! Matt

I took Zoloft once. Loved it until it triggered microscopic colitis (colonoscopy diagnosed it). Lexapro did the same. However, I have a family member who is fiagnosed celiac and tolerates Celexa well.

Thanks for the update and welcome to the club you never wanted to join! ?

Jmg, I am glad you were able to come to the realisation that the culprit was in fact gluten. For me its not so simple. IBS runs in the family, as do several food intolerances. Its just in the last while that I can finally reach the conclusion that for me its gluten. The fact that it is a delayed effect-several hours after, made it harder. Friday I had some KFC, felt great. Saturday evening felt sleepy, Sunday felt awful and my belly was huge. I think I have gone from mildly sensitive to full blown celiac over the course of five years-if that possible. Thanks for all your help.

I thought I'd take a moment to provide an update, given how much lurking I've done on these forums the last year. It took a long time, but I've since had another gastroenterologist visit, many months of eating tons of bread, and an endoscopy where they took several biopsies. I have to say, the endoscopy was a super quick and efficient experience. During the procedure they let me know that it looked somewhat suspicious, causing them to take many biopsies, and then did comprehensive blood work. About a month later, I received a call telling me that the TTG came back positive a second time, and that the biopsies were a mix of negative (normal) results and some that were positive (showing blunting of the villi). As a result, I've been given a celiac diagnosis. It's been about a month now that I've been eating gluten free. Not sure if I'm really feeling all that different yet. It's a bit twisted to say, but in some way I was hoping for this diagnosis ? thinking how nice it would be to have an explanation, a plan of action, and feeling better. It's certainly no small change to be totally gluten free, but I'm hopeful.