Medication, hospital visits and vaccinations
- The vast majority of medicines prescribed by your GP are gluten-free
- If you have coeliac disease and need to go into hospital, speak to the staff about your specific dietary requirements
- People with coeliac disease should receive the pneumococcal vaccine and may also need vaccination against meningitis C and flu.
If you have coeliac disease and need treatment for conditions that are not associated with your coeliac disease, there are certain things you need to be aware of:
The vast majority of medicines prescribed by your GP are gluten-free. In some medicines, wheat starch, which contains low levels of gluten, is used as an ingredient. In cases where wheat starch is used as an ingredient, because there are other ingredients in the medicine, the overall gluten content of the medicine is very low.
When a prescription medication contains wheat starch, this has to be stated on the product label.
In almost all cases an alternative medicinal product can be prescribed, in some cases containing the same active ingredient, and which does not contain wheat starch.
Anyone concerned should speak with their GP or pharmacist and request that their prescribed medicine is one that does not contain wheat starch.
Sometimes medications can cause side effects that are similar to symptoms that occur after accidentally eating gluten. If you have any unexpected side effects, speak to your GP.
If you have coeliac disease and have to go into hospital for whatever reason, you need to make sure that staff cater for your specific dietary needs.
Knowledge of the gluten-free diet may be variable and specialist @gluten-free food@ may not be kept in stock. If your visit is planned, speak to the hospital staff beforehand to ensure they can be prepared.
If you have coeliac disease and are hyposplenic, you should receive the pneumococcal vaccine, as well as vaccines against meningitis A,C,W,Y and flu.
On the advice of our Health Advisory Council, we recommend all individuals with coeliac disease are vaccinated against pneumococcal infection and have a booster every five years.