ADHD and Gluten Sensitive? Check your Rx

ADHD and gluten-freeA friend of mine has ADHD and is also very gluten-sensitive. Recently, she has been suffering with one inexplicable malady after another. Finally, an explanation: the gluten in the generic medication she has been taking.

Here is an excerpt from the Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity page at

For both the consumer and the pharmacist, unless a medication is specifically labeled as gluten-free, calling the manufacturer is the only way to confirm the medication’s gluten-free status.

How Is Gluten Hidden In Medications?

In prescription and over-the-counter medicines, fillers (also called “inactive ingredients” or “excipients”) are added to the active drug. Fillers provide shape and bulk for tablets and capsules, aid in water absorption (helping the tablet to disintegrate), and serve other purposes as well. Fillers can be derived from any starch source, including corn, potatoes, tapioca and wheat.

Unfortunately, very few medications are labeled as gluten-free. Inactive ingredients may be listed on the box or the package insert, but it is difficult if not impossible (even for pharmacists) to tell if these are derived from gluten. [continued at the link above]


3 thoughts on “ADHD and Gluten Sensitive? Check your Rx”

  1. Can you tell me if Adderall or brand name Dextroamphetamine-amphetamine has gluten in its excipients. I have a patient who has severe Celiac and I don’t feel comfortable prescribing it to her.

    Thanks ahead of time for your quick turn around response time.


    1. Hi Betsy,

      The only way to know what’s in a specific medication is to read the product insert — that folded white paper with the small print that comes with the prescription.

      If the patient didn’t retain the product insert, you can search for it online using this string: “product insert” + “[medication name]” + [manufacturer].

      You could also try searching for it at the Daily Med website from the National Library of Medicine:


    2. Betsy according to a list I found at glutenfreedrugs dot com BRAND Adderall and Adderall XR are tagged as “manufacturer doesn’t knowingly add gluten however since they don’t do any final testing they won’t guarantee it to be GF but it is very unlikely that it is contaminated with gluten”

      I am still trying to discover a generic tablet Adderall that is lactose and gluten free

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