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Medications for Celiac Disease

The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

Prescription Medications

In severe cases of celiac disease, corticosteroids are used to help control intestinal inflammation.

Corticosteroids

  • Prednisone
  • Apo-prednisone

Prednisone is given to control inflammation of the intestinal lining in severe cases of celiac disease. This medication can be given in tablet or liquid form. It is best taken at the same time (or times) each day. It should be taken with liquid or food to lessen stomach upset.

Possible side effects over the short-term include:

  • Poor wound healing
  • Indigestion, nausea, or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Appetite gain or loss
  • Weight gain

Possible side effects of long-term use include:

If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor. It is important to keep taking the medications until you talk to your doctor.

In addition, these drugs can cause more serious medical problems, including immunosuppression and peptic ulcer disease (if you are also taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals

People with severe or long-standing celiac disease may need medically supervised replacement of vitamins and minerals until their intestines recover sufficiently to absorb these nutrients. Depending on each person’s specific deficiencies, doctors may prescribe the following types of supplements:

  • Ferrous sulfate (iron)
  • Folic acid (folate)
  • Calcium
  • Standard multivitamins, especially containing vitamins A, B-12, D, E, and K

Special Considerations

If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:

  • Take the medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medication.
  • Plan ahead for refills if you need them.
  • Do not share your prescription medication with anyone.
  • Medications can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one medication, including over-the-counter products and supplements.

References:

Celiac disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114570/Celiac-disease. Updated September 14, 2016. Accessed October 3, 2016.
Celiac disease (gluten enteropathy). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2014. Accessed December 31, 2015.
Celiac disease: Treatment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated April 2014. Accessed December 31, 2015.
What I need to know about celiac disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated September 2013. Accessed December 31, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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