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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Really A Pharmacist?
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44 posts in this topic

Well I went to the pharmacy to pick up the script for my prednisone and pain killers (for the killer kidneys that the docs dont care about) and I said to the pharmacist, so are these pills gluten free?? He says, "what?" After three or four times of doing charades with speaking crazy slow, he says, "Uhh...dunno, Id have to look it up". I said, "well can you?" and he says "I could but I don't think it will say". He says then, "Are you anaphalactic to gluten?" I said no its an intolerance but very painful" He shrugs and says, then blahh don't worry about it, and walks away.

Whats up with our healthcare professionals? Is it only here in Ontario????? :blink:

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Another voice from Ontario here.

Based on my experience over almost twelve years, gluten is vary rarely--if ever--found in a prescription drug in Ontario. That probably applies across Canada. The starch in most tablets is corn. It is more stable than wheat, and doesn't cost more.

The pharmacists that I have dealt with during that time have all understood the issue. I don't doubt that there are some out there who are ignorant, but your experience is not typical based on my own.

I have a cousin who is an MD. He told me that in his time in medical school, celiac was mentioned once (as "gluten-sensitive enteropathy"), and less than half a day was spent on it. His specialty is infectious diseases, so there would be no reason to encounter it once he entered residency in that field.

I don't expect pharmacy school spends much time on it either. :(

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In the United States, you need to tell the pharmacist that you have an allergy to wheat, rye, and barley proteins and they must put this info in their computers and check for it. In my state, the pharmacists are supposed to offer a consult, by law, to the customer if the customer needs it when filling a script, where they are supposed to ask you if you have any allergies. Which I do. Forget about saying you have an auto immune reaction, that's above their pay scale. :blink: If pharmacists and techs are supposed to be "very concerned" about my other allergies, which could be life threatening or give me an asthma attack then they can spend 30 seconds looking at a label for wheat starch that could continue to damage my brain. Good God. :ph34r:

They used to be pretty good about this, until the latest cost cutting phase, then I have run into one who was very, very, not good about this, she was unprofessional and just told me, without looking at the box, "I don't think so." I said "don't think so" was not good enough, and we needed to consult with the manufacturer since the ingredients, incredibly, were NOT ON THE PACKAGE the script came in, so after making me wait, they finally, only at my insistence, gave me a contact number and told me to call them myself, and kicked me to the back of the line. So I called, on my cell phone, and got the automated number which said only open 8 am to 4pm CDT, out of my time zone, so they were closed, then I called the distributor, and finally got someone who was more interested, and he at least had the ingredients list once I got the CODE NUMBER for this item back from the clerk, who was doing her best to ignore me. Literally would not come to the counter. So I called him back and gave him the store number (they wanted the address, of course, of where I was standing, being ignored by the store employees). We think we are okay, but I want to check these ingredients to be sure. I do not have one of these phones that passes for a mini computer. I need to go home to do this.

After all this, I thought, I'm not giving these rude ****s any of my money, and walked out, and caught the useless clerk slinking on her way out of the store - must have been her quitting time. And I had an infection, and I needed this antibiotic. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Went to another branch the next day, where I have filled other scripts before, where they are much better, they ask me about my allergies, I tell them I have researched this so if the code number matches, we are okay. I also told them I was not happy about the customer service at "branch x." :angry:

Most fillers are corn starch in the North Americas, the problem is most drug ingredients that are fillers are imported, and there can be a problem with purity. Also, ingredients change all the time and batches and runs may use different sources. And some medications do use a bit of gluten in the coatings - you need to check what your item actually has in it.

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I think I would have lied and said I was anaphylactic, just to get him to take it seriously. :lol: Am I bad?

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If you fill your prescription at Walmart you will find a lot of the drugs are imported from Mumbai, which complicates the detective work :rolleyes:

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Oh my god it was Walmart! Fabulous! I have to say that the other two pharmacists there, TRY to be helpful and the last one I asked said I dunno call the manufacturer, she also had no interest in calling for me.

I took my pred last night, but was in mucho pain anyways from my kidneys, so it could have been just that.

Well back to bed for some much needed rest, have to rest up for my tutoring of the ignorant around me..... :blink:

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I think I would have lied and said I was anaphylactic, just to get him to take it seriously. :lol: Am I bad?

Not at all. That is exactly what I do. I don't say I need gluten free meds. After all wheat starch is considered gluten free by processing. I say I have a wheat allergy. Rye and barley are not an issue in script meds (although they can be found in 'gluten-free' supplements).

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I have heard some got sick from caugh syrup, but rarely ordinary pills.

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I have heard some got sick from caugh syrup, but rarely ordinary pills.

I've been worried since someone reacted to a generic levothyroxine and confirmed the gluten with a home gluten test kit. Pills may be cleaner where you are.

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wow that must be a lot of gluten, since the pills are so tiny and wheat starch now is around 20ppm or less.

(the gluten-free goods manufacturers got the suppliers to understand that ALL gluten-free flour now needs to be purer, so they changed the process and started to make purer wheat starch)

(they use wheat starch based gluten-free foods here that test below 20 ppm)

(even that is too much for me)

The only pills I have seen with wheat starch, is a calcium carbonate over the counter tablet intended to relieve too much stomach acid, and caugh syrup often has glucose syrup that is made from wheat, and several kids got sick

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I have been rounds with our pharmacy about this. I am the one who has to call the manufacturers. Thing is, esp. with generic, they get different brands all the time. It's whatever the distributer gives them. It can be any brand and all brands are not the same.

Also, it isn't just YOUR pills you need to worry about. They trays they use to count pills aren't washed daily let alone between scripts. So if pill X has gluten and is counted and yours is next, guess what tray they use to count? And the pills that aren't used are dumped back into the bottle so now they'll all be one happy x-con problem.

I have the "luxury" to be able to afford DS's thyroid meds by the bottle. I called the manufacturer for gluten and they said it was fine. I will be sure the pharmacy gets the same generic and I choose to pay out of pocket for a full unopened bottle. Because we chose to do this the insurance won't pay for it.

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So many celiacs have thyroid disease, and vice versa, I would love to see a method to force drug manufacturers selling this medication to disclose the true ingredients on every batch regarding whether or not it contains gluten. Not doing so is as crazy as putting, say, ragweed into antihistamines, sulphites into rescue inhalers, or sugar into diabetes medications, or caffeine into cardiac meds.

You would think the medical community of physicians would at least be concerned about this crazy scenario of drug manufacturers using an ingredient which provokes the auto immune response which then causes the secondary associated diseases... hello ? :o

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You would think the medical community of physicians would at least be concerned about this crazy scenario of drug manufacturers using an ingredient which provokes the auto immune response which then causes the secondary associated diseases... hello ? :o

My child also has life threatening food allergies. They are not required to label ANYTHING in drugs. I have to call on everything and have many times had to forgo giving my kid meds for days while I get all the information I need to safely give it to him. It is a total pain and I can't believe they aren't required to include this information about the meds. Also, I really dislike that the RPh aren't interested in helping people find this information out.

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I just went through this last week. My oldest needed a script and I needed to get to the Clartin behind the pharmacy counter, which where I live, is under lock and key due to people making meth out of it. I had never bought this specific type of Claritin and needed to know if it was gluten-free. The pharmacist shrugged her shoulders, looked at the ingredients for all of about 3 seconds and said "Looks ok to me"! Um...not good enough. I told her I needed to call the manufacturer but they wouldn't let me remove it from the counter in order to do it. They said I had to buy it (and register my drivers license number in order to do so because of the meth dealers), call the manufacturer myself and then return it if need be. I couldn't believe it. So literally I bought it, stepped back two feet and made the call. I found out it was NOT gluten free (an FYI for all of you, the meltable children's Claritin allergy tablets contain gluten) and needed to return it. Then she informs me that I have to go to customer service to do the return, which was on a totally different floor of the store. Crazy! I was really disappointed that the pharmacists knew so little and were so casual about letting me buy something that could really do damage to my child.

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I was really disappointed that the pharmacists knew so little and were so casual about letting me buy something that could really do damage to my child.

Blut at least in doing so they didn't break the law

:P:blink::unsure::rolleyes:

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The pharmacist shrugged her shoulders, looked at the ingredients for all of about 3 seconds and said "Looks ok to me"! Um...not good enough. I told her I needed to call the manufacturer but they wouldn't let me remove it from the counter in order to do it. They said I had to buy it (and register my drivers license number in order to do so because of the meth dealers), call the manufacturer myself and then return it if need be.

What a great scam. Pharmacist unwilling to check for allergen in prescribed medication and forcing a sale. She could have laid the box label down on a copy machine, she could have given you a phone number to call with the code on the box.... she could have done her JOB and checked, herself.... Unfortunately you went along with it.... You really need to contact your state's Attorney General office and file a complaint against this store.

AND WHAT IS GLUTEN DOING IN A CHILD'S ALLERGY MEDICATION, or for that matter, ANY OTC ANTIHISTAMINE ?

I went thru really extensive research two years ago attempting to find out just what the h*ll was in different kinds of otc Benedryl, because the packaging changed, the kind I used to take (adequately labeled, and safe) was no longer available, and all the website research I was pulling up would not give the ingredients for all the different permutations now available... the liquid this, the gelcap that, all in pretty colors.... horrible marketing. Foreign manufacture, imported. This is extremely dangerous.

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wow that must be a lot of gluten, since the pills are so tiny and wheat starch now is around 20ppm or less.

(the gluten-free goods manufacturers got the suppliers to understand that ALL gluten-free flour now needs to be purer, so they changed the process and started to make purer wheat starch)

(they use wheat starch based gluten-free foods here that test below 20 ppm)

(even that is too much for me)

The only pills I have seen with wheat starch, is a calcium carbonate over the counter tablet intended to relieve too much stomach acid, and caugh syrup often has glucose syrup that is made from wheat, and several kids got sick

My doctor also had a gluten-sensitive patient who reacted to pills so the US pills must not be so clean. He was a little surprised, but open-minded enough to start telling me and his other celiac/gluten intolerant patients to check meds and switch to naturally gluten-free foods with no eating out if they are feeling ill.

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I found an OTC calcium, magnesium, zinc supplement in the back of my cabinet and it was several years past the shelf date. Have read hundreds of supplement labels and no gluten. There are also many highly sensitive people on this forum and don't seem to have problems with contamination.

My Dr did say he heard that Amour Thyroid (a natural dessicated T4, T3 med) had gluten. Anyone heard that?

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My Dr did say he heard that Amour Thyroid (a natural dessicated T4, T3 med) had gluten. Anyone heard that?

Nope. Armour has confirmed their pills are gluten-free. http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/list.htm

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As a pharmacy student I can tell you that we aren't taught about celiac disease or even the word "gluten." We are taught the general information about most disease states, including Chrohns, PUD, and the other assortment of ulcer disease. However, with the majority of the health care field just now being brought up to snuff on gluten intolerances and celiac disease, you can expect pharmacy to eventually come in on the learning curve. Having dealt with gluten intolerance first hand, and having other celiac students in my class I can tell you that some of us will be more helpful than others. However, I can also say that many of the students I'm around daily know my dietary restrictions and will also learn from them and be more helpful to the gluten intolerant population later in life. Just be patient and respectful when you talk to your healthcare professionals and they'll learn from you and be must more willing to help you stay healthy.

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Hexon, its very hard to be patient with someone who shrugs their shoulders and walks away from you, telling you that if its JUST an intolerance then no biggy, but IF it were an ALLERGY then well maybe we should look into it...they arnt asking questions and trying to inform themselves, that is the maddening part, there is no opportunity to explain yourself. Since my pharmacy here has a cross referencing program as Im sure most do, I asked if it shouldn't be put on my file and the pharmacist said well we could but it probably wouldn't make any difference!?!?!?

Patience that I had, is gone.

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Hexon, its very hard to be patient with someone who shrugs their shoulders and walks away from you, telling you that if its JUST an intolerance then no biggy, but IF it were an ALLERGY then well maybe we should look into it...they arnt asking questions and trying to inform themselves, that is the maddening part, there is no opportunity to explain yourself. Since my pharmacy here has a cross referencing program as Im sure most do, I asked if it shouldn't be put on my file and the pharmacist said well we could but it probably wouldn't make any difference!?!?!?

Patience that I had, is gone.

Next time perhaps you may try bringing a printout about celiac disease. Pharmacists understand anaphylaxis, but when a healthcare professional hears "intolerance" they immediately think, "oh, it's just going to give them gas." But if you educate them to celiac disease, not only are you helping yourself but also the next person who has to deal this this individual regarding gluten. If all else fails you may have to switch pharmacies, because after all, your health is the reason you're going to the pharmacy anyways.

Edit: the stock bottles of medications always come with a medication printout. You can ask your pharmacist to let you read through it to verify you can take it safely, since it contains all the ingredients. Just make sure to do it before you pay for your meds, because in the US once the medication leaves the store you can't legally take it back.

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Next time perhaps you may try bringing a printout about celiac disease. Pharmacists understand anaphylaxis, but when a healthcare professional hears "intolerance" they immediately think, "oh, it's just going to give them gas." But if you educate them to celiac disease, not only are you helping yourself but also the next person who has to deal this this individual regarding gluten. If all else fails you may have to switch pharmacies, because after all, your health is the reason you're going to the pharmacy anyways.

Edit: the stock bottles of medications always come with a medication printout. You can ask your pharmacist to let you read through it to verify you can take it safely, since it contains all the ingredients. Just make sure to do it before you pay for your meds, because in the US once the medication leaves the store you can't legally take it back.

Woops sorry, quoted you and hit submit by accident...of course you're right that I would like to save someone else the trouble, BUT with my son having had a heart transplant/stroke/kidney failure/chronic lung disease, you get tired of explaining stuff to people, we call it "training" people amongst our family. Now with me having celiac, Im just too tired to explain anymore. I am taking the pred cuz I know its safe (I think!? :blink: ) and thats pretty much it, if it hasn't hurt me by now after three days, Im probably okay with it. Ive been trying to explain celiac to my family and friends, and thats it for now, maybe when everything dies down a bit and everyone around me finally GETS it, then I will venture out a bit more and possibly try to explain myself more.

Im still grieving the loss of my diet, and am cranky enough that my people skills just went whoosh down the toilet! :unsure:

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What a great scam. Pharmacist unwilling to check for allergen in prescribed medication and forcing a sale. She could have laid the box label down on a copy machine, she could have given you a phone number to call with the code on the box.... she could have done her JOB and checked, herself.... Unfortunately you went along with it.... You really need to contact your state's Attorney General office and file a complaint against this store.

AND WHAT IS GLUTEN DOING IN A CHILD'S ALLERGY MEDICATION, or for that matter, ANY OTC ANTIHISTAMINE ?

I went thru really extensive research two years ago attempting to find out just what the h*ll was in different kinds of otc Benedryl, because the packaging changed, the kind I used to take (adequately labeled, and safe) was no longer available, and all the website research I was pulling up would not give the ingredients for all the different permutations now available... the liquid this, the gelcap that, all in pretty colors.... horrible marketing. Foreign manufacture, imported. This is extremely dangerous.

This was actually for a non-prescription medicine. But in California they keep these particular allergy meds behind the pharmacy counter. If she had handed it to me she would have been breaking the law. I think it's a silly law, but what can you do? The AG would be on her side because she was following the letter of the law.

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Blut at least in doing so they didn't break the law

:P:blink::unsure::rolleyes:

Yup. Exactly!

:P

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