We belong to a number of Celiac and gluten-free groups on Facebook, and sometimes I see things that just boggle my mind. (Yesterday, I saw someone claiming to be a health practitioner stating that corn contains gluten and the FDA lies about it. Sigh.)
This morning, I saw another crazy claim: Advil contains gluten. I know for sure this isn’t true: I take a lot of Advil, and I was sure that I read somewhere that medication is mandated to be gluten-free. So off I go to the Advil site, and right on their FAQ page is this statement:
Q I am allergic to gluten. Is it all right for me to take this product?
A Advil® Liqui-Gels® and Advil® Migraine and contain a wheat derivative, and are not gluten-free. You should check with your doctor if you have any concerns about taking this product.
Instant panic! I checked the Canadian site and it seemed to indicate that Canadian Advil is gluten-free. I called the customer service line and they confirmed that in fact all Pfizer products (which includes brand names like Robax, Robitussin, Dimetapp, and Dristan) are gluten-free.
Out of curiosity, I called the Tylenol product line, since I couldn’t find any information on their website. (It seems that once upon a time, there was a page stating that all Tylenol is gluten-free, but it appears to no longer exist.) They were far less helpful, requiring a specific product name (of which there are dozens), and then giving this cryptic statement: “No gluten has intentionally been added to this product but we cannot guarantee that it is gluten-free.”
I also checked into my assumption that all medications must be gluten-free. It looks like both the Canadian and American drug administrations are looking into such regulations, but nothing has been passed. To make matters worse, allergen-containing ingredients don’t have to be identified on drugs as they do on food. (For example, the label on a medication could just say “starch” and not identify if it is from corn or wheat. The U.S.-based Gluten Free Drugs website is highly recommended, but there is no Canadian equivalent that I could find. Most people say to contact the manufacturer to be 100% certain. For prescription drugs, always double-check with your pharmacist.