The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the Government agency responsible for ensuring that medicines are safe.
We asked Coeliac UK for advice. They said:
“The MHRA have informed Coeliac UK that prescribable, licensed medicines which are listed in the BNF and MIMS (prescribing guides used by your GP) are gluten-free.
Wheat starch can be added to prescription medications as a tablet binding agent. If it has been used it will be stated on the label and in the patient information leaflet. However, wheat starch used in prescription medications is of pharmaceutical grade and therefore highly refined and considered gluten-free. Any medications that contain wheat starch are suitable for people with coeliac disease.
If buying a medicine, which has not been prescribed by your GP, Coeliac UK have been advised that if there is a Product License (PL) number on the packet then this would also be suitable for people with coeliac disease.
There are European guidelines on the issue of labelling ingredients on the packaging of medicinal products which are available from the European Medicines Agency website:
Sometimes medications can cause side effects that are similar to symptoms that occur after eating gluten. These side effects should disappear once the course of medication is complete.
Prescribed medications should only be taken or stopped under medical advice. Do not stop taking any medication without consulting your GP. Your GP is best placed to advise you regarding alternative medications.
This guidance does not cover individuals who have a wheat allergy. Individuals with a wheat allergy should not take any medicines that contain wheat starch.
Coeliac UK also has a helpline number 0845 305 2060 if your listener would like to speak to one of the Charity’s diet and health team.
The charity for people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis
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