International Journal of Celiac Disease
ISSN (Print): 2334-3427 ISSN (Online): 2334-3486 Website: Editor-in-chief: Samasca Gabriel
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Most Celiac Disease Patients Interested in Medication

September 16, 2013

By Will Boggs, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Sep 16 - Most patients with celiac disease would like to have medication for their condition, according to results of a survey.

The only effective treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, but several pharmaceutical agents are under development, including some that decrease intestinal permeability and modulate immune activation. So far, however, none of these has progressed beyond phase II clinical trials.

Before now, no one has formally asked celiac disease patients whether they are interested in such treatments, according to Dr. Peter H. R. Green from The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, New York, and colleagues.

They analyzed survey responses from 365 patients with biopsy-confirmed celiac disease.

Two thirds of the patients (222/339 who answered the question on medication use) were interested in medication to treat celiac disease, the researchers reported this month in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology.

Older individuals, men, those with frequent restaurant use, those dissatisfied with their weight, and those concerned with the cost of a gluten-free diet were especially interested in medications.

Interest in medication was also associated with worse quality of life, slightly worse adherence to a gluten-free diet, and higher symptom scores.

"Patient concerns about a potential medication to treat celiac disease include cost, efficacy, and potential side effects or safety," the investigators say.

Dr. Green did not respond to a request for comments on this report.

In unrelated correspondence, Dr. Gabriel Samasca of Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania, told Reuters Health that as editor in chief of the new open-access International Journal of Celiac Disease, he hopes to close what he sees as a gap between the need to understand celiac disease and the lack of focus on the disease in existing journals.

"The major problem is that the celiac disease is often a peripheral concern in these journals," Dr. Samasca said.

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