As a pharmacist I get asked this question a lot!!! Is this medication Gluten Free?

As a pharmacist I get asked this question a lot!!! Is this medication Gluten Free?

What you need to know:

The good news is that, in Australia it is a requirement of any prescription, over-the-counter medication or vitamin to declare when ingredients are derived from gluten.

So what do you need to look for when checking if a medication or supplement is gluten free? You simply need to check the label for either a gluten free statement or that no gluten, wheat, wheat starch, barley, rye or oats are listed in the ingredients. If there is no mention of gluten containing ingredients on the pack, the product is coeliac safe.

If there is no ingredients listed, you need to check the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) for the product. To find a CMI for a product, head to TGA eBusiness services or click here, then simply type the drug name in the search bar and enter- click on CMI and a pdf will open, you will find all ingredients listed on the last page of this document. Read it just like you would a food product label. Your pharmacist can also provide tell you if it is gluten free and provide the CMI for you if have trouble.

Most medications are in fact gluten free, but just a reminder to always check anything that will be swallowed.

The “No added gluten” statement- oh how I dislike this statement, I have made so many complaints to various big brand vitamin companies about it. I see it mostly on vitamins and supplements. Basically if you see the ambiguous term ‘no added gluten’ on a product, it unfortunately means you need to contact the company directly to ask the reason for this statement on the product. In my experience, 95% of the time the medication will still be coeliac safe. This statement can mean one of three things. First it is used as a blank statement to cover themselves legally if anyone has a reaction. Second reason some companies use this statement is to communicate that while none of the ingredients in the product contain gluten, they do not test the finished product for gluten and so are not willing to make a ‘gluten free’ claim. The third and final reason this “no added gluten” statement is included is because the processing facility where it is made uses gluten on its lines. This final reason is highly unlikely as cross contamination in a factory manufacturing medication is very unlikely due to high quality standards and cleanliness of these types of facilities. None the less, this statement must be treated like a “May contain” statement and further investigated to determine if it is 100% safe.

If you have any concerns about your medication, please consult your Doctor or Pharmacist. You can also call 1300MEDICINE for advice on prescriptions, over the counter and other natural medicines. If you need clarification on any “no added gluten” statment contact the company that manufactures it directly.

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