Gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oats) is often used in prescription and over-the-counter medication as a thickener and/or binding agent. To date, drug companies/manufacturers in the United States are not required to state on the label, whether or not their products contain gluten, even though it is estimated than 1 in 133 people are allergic to gluten.
To people with a gluten allergy or Celiac Disease, ingesting even a grain of gluten has a toxic effect on the body, causing debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms that can last for several weeks after the contamination. Currently, for Celiac patients and those with gluten allergies, even a minor unrelated surgery can become a major ordeal because most doctors, surgeons, and pharmacists unknowingly poison the patient by giving medicine that contains gluten.
Today, the only way to verify an absence of gluten in pharmaceutical products is to contact the manufacturer directly, rather than simply reading the label. Believe it or not, sometimes the pharmaceutical company representatives can't even answer the question with 100% certainty. Many commonly used medications like multi-vitamins, pain relievers, and antibiotics contain gluten. Consumers are not asking companies to change their current ingredients. We're just asking that they warn consumers of gluten presence in the product.
A simple government mandate to label medical products for easy identification of gluten content, would help millions of people each day to avoid gastrointestinal suffering, along with a list of other symptoms.