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lindagray

Medications & Future Treatments for Celiac Disease

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Medications to control intestinal inflammation

If your small intestine is severely damaged, your doctor may recommend steroids to control inflammation. Steroids can ease severe signs and symptoms of celiac disease while the intestine heals.

Dermatitis herpetiformis

If you have this itchy, blistering skin rash that sometimes accompanies celiac disease, your doctor may recommend a skin medication (dapsone) along with the gluten-free diet.

Refractory celiac disease

If you have refractory celiac disease, you may continue to have severe symptoms, or your symptoms may lessen but then relapse. In either case, your small intestine does not heal. When this happens, you likely will require evaluation in a specialized center. Refractory celiac disease can be quite serious and there is currently no proven treatment.

People with refractory celiac disease should be treated by experts. There may be several causes for this condition. Doctors will often use steroid therapy — either a topical budesonide or systemic steroids such as prednisone. Sometimes, they will use the same medications used to treat other conditions.

Potential future treatments

While the only proven therapy for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, it is not perfect. People with celiac disease may often be accidentally exposed to gluten, possibly causing severe symptoms.

Several treatments are in development for celiac disease. Some try to neutralize or bind to gluten. Others address the barrier of the intestine, blocking the leakiness that gluten can trigger. Still others target the body's immune system. Researchers have also been trying to genetically modify wheat, but have not yet been successful.

None of these treatments is likely to be approved within the next two to three years. However, given the number of different approaches, there is a good chance that there will be additional treatments available for celiac disease in the future.

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