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.
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