Poll: Medication for Celiac Disease - Celiac Disease
Sep 8 2012

Poll: Medication for Celiac Disease

A few days back I read an article from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness about a new drug for Celiac Disease that is in the testing phases.  In fact, the drug was just approved for the Fast Track Program, making it a priority and possibly shortening the time for FDA review.

The Alvine Pharmaceuticals drug, ALV003, targets gluten and basically breaks it down into small particles, which is supposed to reduce the immune response.  More about ALV003:

ALV003 is an orally administered mixture of two recombinant gluten-specific proteases, a cysteine protease (EP-B2) and a prolyl endopeptidase (PEP). ALV003 targets gluten and degrades it into small fragments, which, in vitro, diminishes its immunogenicity. ALV003 is being developed as a potential treatment for celiac disease patients in conjunction with a gluten-free diet and is currently in phase 2 clinical development


I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was concerned about this.  I realize that there may be a time and place where a medication like this would be warranted, but I worry about the risks of taking any medication.  I guess I would need to know more about it to make an informed decision.  Some of the questions I have are:

  • Is this a daily medication?
  • Does this medication completely eliminate the need for the gluten-free diet or is it meant as an extra layer of protection in case of accidental ingestion of gluten?
  • What are the side effects of taking the medication?

I understand that following the gluten-free diet can be challenging, especially when travelling, dining out or depending on a host or hostess to safely prepare a meal.   Some people may have more of a challenge than others, especially if they don’t feel the effects of accidentally ingesting gluten.  So perhaps something like ALV003 would be a blessing in those situations.

How do you feel about this?  Please weigh in below in our poll and feel free to discuss in the comments section.

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!


  1. Joan says:

    I would really need a lot more information. Answers to the questions you posed would be a start.

  2. Felina M says:

    I am celiac & have been diagnosed for almost 5yrs. I tried to get into the testing for this drug. I did not fit all of the criteria sadly. I figured if it could help others avoid the problems I have had, even if it just makes them less severe I am for it. Since I was diagnosed 2 of my daughters have also been diagnosed & I have grandchildren that have a higher chance to have it too. If I could help them & the medical world’s knowledge I would do it. I read a lot about it & was impressed with the company & what they are trying to do.

  3. Anna K says:

    Overall, I am genuinely excited that drug makers are interested in exploring options for those with Celiac Disease. Of course there are many questions that need to be answered, but the idea of having something that can supplement the gluten free diet is really exciting. Traveling is particularly scary for a celiac. I’d love to have the option to take a pill (similar to those with lactose intolerance) that I can take before a meal in another country, for example, that will help my body fight against accidental ingestion of gluten. Yes, we should all be skeptical of a “magic cure” and of unnecessary side effects, but remember that many good things have come out of medicine too (penicillin, organ transplants, cancer treatments, diabetes treatments, epi-pens, vaccines, to name a few). Does that mean that we stop striving for a healthy lifestyle? No way! But it’s great to know that there are treatments available to make life a bit easier. Just my two cents 🙂

  4. Dallas T says:

    What I understand about this medication is that it will still require a GF diet. What is intended to do is to eliminate any issues from incidental or accidental ingestion of gluten. As I understand, it is meant to keep you safe with small accidental ingestion and will not allow you to eat a (non-GF) pizza.

  5. Christine says:

    I’ve heard Dr. Fasano talk about this medication,(he helped discover it), and it’s meant to be something to help with accidental ingestion, not to let you eat a sandwhich. The people in the trial were giventhe equivalen of 1/4 of a slice of gluten bread per day. They probably don’t know all of the side effects yet, but the two they report are headache and UTI. This study also showed that smaller doses work just as well as the larger doses theyinitially used, so hopefully the side effects will be lower also.


  1. Weekly Menu Plan – September 10, 2012 « Gluten-free is Life says:

    […] Weigh in: Would you take medication for Celiac Disease so you could eat gluten? […]

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