If you have a child who suffers from Celiac Disease, you no doubt are a diligent food label reader. You spend countless hours throughout the month reading and re-reading labels to ensure gluten is not present in the food you serve your child. However, imagine purchasing a food product labeled “gluten-free,” preparing and serving it to your little one who suffers from Celiac Disease, only to later learn the product was not in fact gluten-free. And just like that, your child has been “glutened.” Being “glutened” is what happens when, despite all the best intentions and preventative measures, gluten slips into your child’s diet anyway.
Additionally, although eating gluten-free is the best option for treating Celiac Disease, it is often very difficult for children and adults suffering from the condition to stick to such a strict diet regimen. Studies have shown that lapses in dietary restrictions are common, occurring anywhere from 32 to 55 percent, because eating gluten-free can be difficult to afford, gluten is hidden in a large number of foods and/or gluten-free options are not readily available.
Whichever is the case, the fact remains that it is extremely difficult for people who suffer from Celiac Disease to totally eliminate gluten from their diet, and as a result, many needlessly suffer painful and damaging symptoms.
As you may well know, when a child who suffers from Celiac Disease eats gluten, inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine results, along with a host of uncomfortable or downright painful symptoms such as gas, bloating, vomiting and constipation. But what if there was a medication that could help prevent the negative symptoms experienced after accidentally eating gluten?
Introducing Larazotide Acetate
Larazotide acetate is a medication that works by preventing gut permeability, which allows gluten to pass through and trigger intestinal distress and damage. Early studies have illustrated that people taking larazotide acetate experience significantly less gastrointestinal symptoms after ingesting gluten than those taking a placebo. Those participating in the study regularly ate a gluten-free diet and had been “gluten free” for a median of five years.
Even though larazotide acetate shows great promise in preventing or significantly lessening negative symptoms associated with eating gluten, its intended use is for unintentional ingestion of gluten rather than for use with a diet that includes gluten. Used in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, larazotide would be taken prior to meals in order to minimize the negative effects of accidental gluten ingestion. In other words, it could potentially protect people with Celiac Disease from suffering negative effects after being “glutened.”
There is hope that larazotide acetate will successfully eliminate negative Celiac Disease symptoms or, alternatively, significantly reduce the severity of symptoms, but more studies are needed. In the meantime, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has “fast tracked” larazotide acetate. That means the FDA will facilitate larazotide acetate’s development and expedite its review in order to get larazotide acetate to patients as soon as possible.