Protect Celiacs from Accidental Exposure to Gluten in Medicine

wheat-field1-by-lauren-tucker

Target: John Boehner, Speaker of the House

Goal: Require that medicines containing or derived from gluten products are labeled.

Celiac disease is a potentially serious auto-immune disorder trigged by ingesting gluten and prevents the absorption of nutrients. Approximately one percent of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with celiac disease while another six percent report some level of gluten sensitivity. For many people suffering from this illness, even the smallest amount of gluten can trigger a reaction. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, headache, sweating, and others.

There is no treatment or cure for celiac disease or gluten intolerance. The only option for those with these issues is to avoid all gluten. Sadly, gluten is found in trace amounts in places one wouldn’t expect. Most soy sauce, for example, uses wheat as an additive. In fact, wheat and other gluten containing products are used as a filler in countless items, including medications. Currently, food products are required to list all ingredients on the label, but medications are not.

U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) have introduced a bill aimed at changing this. H.R. 3648 would mandate medications are labeled with the source of any ingredients (with the exception of sugar alcohol) that contain or are derived from grain or that contain gluten. This label would ensure that people with gluten sensitivity issues are protected from a serious reaction caused by accidental exposure.

No one wants to have an allergic reaction to something a doctor prescribes. This bill would help doctors, pharmacists, and consumers ensure that they’re not being inadvertently exposed to gluten or gluten products. Sign this petition and tell the U.S House of Representatives that this bill should be passed without delay as it has far reaching impacts for public health.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Speaker Boehner,

Nearly seven percent of the U.S. population suffers from celiac disease or some other form of gluten intolerance. Currently, those individuals are at risk of accidental exposure from the very medications their doctors may prescribe to treat other ailments. For some, even trace amounts of gluten can set off violent reactions including severe stomach cramps, sweating, headaches, and the like. This is easily prevented by requiring medications to be labeled if such ingredients are present.

H.R.3648 was recently introduced in the House with the sole purpose of ensuring such labeling takes place. Gluten sensitivity is a growing problem in this country. Concerns for public health demand that protections exist to prevent accidental exposure. We, the undersigned, ask that you pass this bill without delay.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Lauren Tucker

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