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MissSio

Celiac Develpoed As A Side-effect?

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Hello!

My mother was recently diagnosed with Celiac, after taking Valtrex to treat a case of shingles. She had never had any problems before taking Valtrex, and is now having to change her entire lifestyle, etc etc. She had a reaction after taking generic tylenol, only to find out they used gluten as a filler! It's everywhere! Heh...

So my question is, has anyone heard of Valtrex causing Celiac? I'm trying to research if it might be possible, but my search hasn't gotten me very far yet. Anything anyone might know would be very helpful!

Thank you!

Sio

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Sio, I doubt that Valtrex will cause celiac disease. It is more likely that your mother had it all along, but the Valtrex finally was the last straw, and made it obvious.

This is what happened to me: I was never well, had obvious celiac disease symptoms as a child (no doctor ever recognized it, though), but then with my first pregnancy started gaining weight. Had fibromyalgia and many other health problems, that are often not recognized as symptoms of celiac disease (like anemia, miscarriages, weight gain for no apparent reason, depression, allergies, alternating diarrhea and constipation, bloating, gas, rumbling in my bowels, gallbladder disease............the list goes on).

Then, last year in May I thought that a bowel cleanse might be helpful. Within a week it put me into full-blown celiac disease. With chronic diarrhea lasting into October, stomach and bowel cramps so severe, I wanted to die (and thought I had a heart attack), extreme weakness, dizziness etc.

The bowel cleanse did not cause celiac disease. It just finally brought it out so much that it was impossible to ignore any longer, and finally led to me figuring out I have celiac disease.

So, the Valtrex didn't cause celiac disease, it just made it obvious. Your mother likely had less obvious symptoms all along (like getting shingles, I had those a few years ago, too). If you research possible symptoms of celiac disease (there are over 200), you'll likely find that your mother had many of the less obvious ones all along.

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A drug can't cause Celiac. But the shingles might have been the trigger to make her Celiac Disease come to the forefront. It is an inherited disease and you should also be tested for it. You do not have to have the classic symtoms to have the disease. Many people are asymptomatic, in that they have no symtoms until late in life. When that happens a lot of damage has already been done.

By, the way, WELCOME to the forum. You will get great advice here, plus moral support.

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Celiac is an autoimmune disorder. One of the theories on what "causes" an autoimmune disorder to develop (vs. being born with it) is some sort of "trigger"----often, a viral/bacterial infection, pregnancy, severe trauma/stress, etc. They think that something happens to turn on your genes, essentially. I had a severe case of mono and the dr's think that triggered it.

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Adding to what others have said about the shingles as a trigger for celiac, shingles themselves can be triggered by stress, which could also have acted as a trigger for celiac. So it could be a complicated set of causes like that.

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I sincerely doubt it was the Valtrex. I had a "cast iron" stomach my whole life, not counting food allergies (eggs, poultry mostly) until I developed the worst sinus infection in my whole life at age 36 or 37. At the time my life was full of stressors also. I took a prescribed course of Keflex, developed the good ole D common to celiac, but at that time I didn't know what it was, of course. I attributed it to the strong antibiotic. But six weeks later the D hadn't cleared up; went to my gp, was put on the gluten-free diet for starters, the D cleared up, ergo celiac. It wasn't the meds, it was the infection and stress that triggered my genes into full blown celiac. So welcome to the board, if your mother has internet access, have her come here and read all the posts and questions. There's a wealth of information here; I've learned more here since Aug 05 than in the previous 9 or 10 years combined!

Annette

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Had I not had a similar experience to your mother's, I would certainly be inclined to say that meds have nothing to do with it.But, after reading your post, I'm wondering myself if there's a link. However, I don't think it's a direct cause-and-effect scenario.

Here's my experience: A month after receiving Gamma Globulin and being sent to mainland China for a concert tour, I had a horrible case of shingles immediately after returning to Seattle. It lasted 6 weeks instead of the usual 2 (it wasn't correctly diagnosed in the beginning), and I suddenly became allergic to every painkiller on earth, including Aspirin, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen. I was never allergic to these before, and actually have not been allergic to them since.

This is also when my Hashimoto's thyroiditis symptoms began, but they weren't diagnosed until 2 years later.

So, I don't think it likely that Valtrex caused your mom's celiac symptoms, but I think that your mom's reaction to Valtrex and even gluten were somehow triggered by her immune system's going kaflooie with the shingles. Shingles really does anumber on your body. After my bout with it, I was so weak, sitting at the table to eat a meal exhausted me, and I would have to go back to bed. It took a good month after the shingles subsided to recover, and I had to go to physical therapy for another month to get the use of my arm back (I had a frozen shoulder from not moving it for a month).

Once my immune system settled down, I was able to take occasional (once every couple of months or so--I don't like taking meds if I don't have to) painkillers with no reaction--but I usually find that half-doses are easily enough to do the job. I do think it's interesting that I had very standard allergic reactions to them--and now I don't. They say that once you are allergic, you are always allergic, but apparently, that's not always the case. For all we know, that mightt be the case with celiac, too, but I think that might depend on the amount of internal damage, as well as a lot of other factors. Immune systems are so unpredictable and can do such damaging things to us, it's not worth playing Russian Roulette with them if we don't have to.

I'm curious--did your mom receive any other meds for the shingles? I was given prednisone, which also does bizarre things to the body. It was supposed to shorten the duration of the shingles and prevent post-shingles neuralgia--but in my case, it did neither.

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It lasted 6 weeks instead of the usual 2

Actually, it can last months, and I've never heard of anybody having the shingles for only two weeks. Mine took nearly three months, with awful pains. Fortunately, the pains went away then. With some people, they never go away.

I took the antiviral medication (can't remember the name), and either the shingles or the med made the fibromyalgia so much worse, that I stopped being able to function without painkillers (I managed without them before). Meaning really, now that I understand, it made the celiac disease worse, and my intolerances.

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Actually celiac disease can be triggered by something in the environment. That's why identical twins, one can have it and the other won't. They just don't know exactly what can trigger it or why.

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Actually, it can last months, and I've never heard of anybody having the shingles for only two weeks. .

Really? Everyone else I've talked to who's had it only had it for a couple of weeks--but that was 19 years ago. Maybe nowadays everyone gets it more severely? Or is it just us?

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My celiac disease was triggered by Augmentin. According to what I read on another website, one researcher is looking into gut bacteria (or lack of certain types) as a possible reason as to causes of immune response. The general idea is the gluten is not being converted or broken down properly. Very technical - I didn't understand. But anti-biotics (not quite an anti-viral) definitely change the mix of gut bacteria. Hence so many of us taking probiotics. My point is: a) I think I was genetically predisposed for celiac disease; B) I think Augmentin pushed me over the edge into the abyss we lovingly call celiac disease.

Someone else might argue is was my sinus infection. But that was probably my tenth sinus infection, and definitely not the worse I've ever had.

My $.02

-Bob

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I went on the Akins diet 2 years ago. It was great. I lost a significant amount of weight. (I am the unusual overweight celiac) It was great. But when I reintroduced heavy carbs back into my diet, boom...the celiac symptoms hit. I didn't know what was happening and it took about 6 months of doctoring and a mysterious invitation to a social workers continuing education program on celiac disease to figure out what was going on. (I am not a social worker, thats where the mystery comes in.) So I would say the severe decrease in gluten while on the Akins diet triggered my celilac to manafest and ...actually... if you think about it...saved my life. If I had never recognized these symptoms I would have had a sluggish life followed quite possibly with colon cancer. So over all, I would have to say I am glad to have finally been diagnosed. ?crazy statement? or is it?!

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My celiacs also seemed to be triggered by medication also. I had a positive skin TB test and so I had to go on INH (isoniazid) for 6 months. I think that some medications attack you where you are weak, and obviously for me it was my gut.

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