One of the early consequences of celiac disease is that the gut becomes permeable, allowing access of gluten molecules into the immune system. Dr. Joseph Murray, M.D., talks about the investigational drug, Larazotide Acetate, that was developed in a clinical trial to reduce this leakiness or permeability. The study has been published in Gastroenterology.
Maintaining a 100% gluten-free diet can be quite challenging, especially considering that many people react severely to the cross contamination of even minute amounts of gluten. The study demonstrated that the lowest dose of Larazotide Acetate administered, not only reduced the symptoms of accidental ingestion of gluten, but patients experienced significantly less headaches, fatigue, and other gastrointestinal issues commonly associated with celiac disease.
Larazotide Acetate has not been approved for use as yet, and will require further trials. It is important to keep in mind that this would not be a cure for celiac disease; rather, it would work in conjunction with a gluten-free diet. With this drug, celiac disease patients would not need to live in fear of accidental gluten exposure, as it would provide a necessary safety net to help them lead a more normal life.
Read the full study online here.
For more information about celiac disease, visit mayoclinic.org/celiac disease.
Dr. Murray is a gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert at Mayo Clinic.