First Drug Treatment for Celiac Disease Sufferers

A new drug for Celiac disease sufferers has passed clinical trials. People who suffer from their inability to eat foods that contain gluten may soon feel better.

Sufferers of celiac disease have very restricted diets. They cannot absorb gluten, which is found in barley, rye, and wheat. Unfortunately, gluten can be found in most of the foods that we eat. Celiac sufferer, 20-year-old Catherine Panejko, says gluten is in almost everything. She cannot eat cake, yogurt, ice cream, or even rice crackers. Gluten can be found in vitamins and medications as well.

Celiac sufferers must constantly read labels; watch what they eat at home and elsewhere. It is not always easy to control their food intact. Dieters often find that it hard to control their dietary intake yet they can manage a diet knowing the calorie count. Celiac sufferers do not always know the make up of certain foods, especially in a restaurant.

Gluten damages the villi, which are the tiny projection like tissue parts of the lining of the small intestine. People who suffer from Celiac disease will suffer from bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Catherine also suffers from anemia and fatigue. These symptoms will surface even after ingesting just a small amount of gluten.

However, Catherine Paneijko is one of the celiac sufferers who are being helped with a brand new drug for celiac disease. The Canadian research team leader, Dr. Richard Fedorak from the Department of Medicine (gastroenterology) of the University of Alberta is pleased with the results of the clinical study.

He cautions that Larazati is not a cure for celiac disease. It is designed to strengthen “the tiny junctions that hold the intestine together, which blocks the gluten from seeping into the tissue and damaging it.” The study also suggests that Larazati may actually repair the damaged tissue.

However, the executive director of the Canadian Celiac Association, Jim McCarthy says more research is needed to conclude the safety of the drug. He is happy to report that research is ongoing and researchers are working on a vaccine and other drugs that may actually breakdown the gluten when it enters the body.

New treatments such as these, when perfected, will allow celiac sufferers to have a good meal without worrying about getting ill. The situation would be especially important when they are away from home, having a meal out and relieved that they will no longer suffer from pain or worse still uncontrolled bathroom visits.

The Montreal Chapter of the Quebec Celiac Association

(514) 893-9856



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Posted on Jul 2, 2010