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Medications for Celiac Disease

Here are the basics about each of the medicines below. Only common problems with them are listed.

These medicines are used along with a gluten-free diet. They may be needed if the diet alone does not stop symptoms.

Prescription Medicines

Corticosteroids

  • Prednisone
  • Betamethasone
  • Clobetasone butyrate

Immunosuppressants

  • Azathioprine
  • Infliximab
  • Cyclosporine
  • Alemtuzumab
  • Cladribine

Medicine to treat itchy skin rash caused by celiac disease

  • Dapsone
  • Sulfonamide
  • Topical corticosteroids or antihistamines
 

Corticosteroids

Common names are:

  • Prednisone
  • Betamethasone
  • Clobetasone butyrate

These drugs can lower or stop inflammation in the intestines. They may be used with medicines to lower the immune system.

Some problems may be:

  • Stomach upset, nausea, or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Moodiness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain

Serious side effects are:

 

Immunosuppressants

Common names are:

  • Azathioprine
  • Infliximab
  • Cyclosporine
  • Alemtuzumab
  • Cladribine

These drugs lower the immune system. They may be given before or with a corticosteroid.

Some problems may be:

  • Infection
  • Anemia
  • Problems with blood clotting
  • Fever and chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
 

Medicine to Treat Skin Rash

Common names are:

  • Dapsone—antibiotic
  • Sulfonamide
  • Corticosteroids or antihistamine creams or lotions

Some problems may be:

  • Dry, red skin
  • Peeling skin
  • Allergic reaction
  • Joint swelling or pain
  • Belly pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Symptoms of hemolytic anemia (dapsone):
    • Weakness
    • Paleness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Dark urine
    • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
REFERENCES:

Caio G, Volta U, et al. Celiac disease: a comprehensive current review. BMC Med. 2019 Jul 23;17(1):142.

Celiac disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/celiac-disease. Accessed January 4, 2021.

Celiac disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/malabsorption-syndromes/celiac-disease. Accessed January 4, 2021.

Poorly responsive celiac disease. Celiac Disease Foundation website. Available at: https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/poorly-responsive-celiac-disease. Accessed January 5, 2021.

Treatment for celiac disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/celiac-disease/treatment. Accessed January 5, 2021.

Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 1/5/2021