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Formulating for the Gluten-sensitive Individual

Author(s):  Cacace Janice L

Issue:  Sep/Oct 2005 - Pain Management
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Abstract:  Gluten is the protein in wheat, rye, barley, and related grains that is responsible for the elastic character of bread dough. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is a genetic disorder that may affect as many as two million Americans. This condition also is referred to as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, celiac sprue, or celiac disease. The classic symptoms range from diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies. Once gluten intolerance is diagnosed, strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet can prevent almost all symptoms and complications of the disease. This means that medications and/or nutritional or herbal supplements must be free of gluten. Compounding pharmacists should be prepared to compound formulations that are gluten free. This means using only gluten-free grains and derivatives (such as starches) as sources of drug excipients. Lists of acceptable and unacceptable grains and starches are provided.

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