Celiac Disease - Treatment

What treatments have been effective for celiac disease?

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What is the treatment for celiac disease?

The only treatment for celiac disease and the inflammation of the small intestine caused by gluten protein exposure is a life-long gluten free diet.

What is latent celiac disease, and how is it treated?

Latent or potential celiac disease describes those people suspected of having the disease with a positive antibody blood test, but whose small bowel biopsy is normal. Currently, there is no indication to begin treatment with a gluten free diet, however, repeat biopsy might be considered if signs and symptoms develop or if symptoms of malabsorption are present.

What is silent celiac disease, and how is it treated?

Individuals may be screened for celiac disease and have both a positive antibody blood test and a positive small intestine biopsy, and yet have no symptoms. This is considered silent celiac disease and the recommendation is to perform further testing looking for malabsorption complications such as anemia and osteoporosis. A gluten free diet may be indicated if these tests are positive.

What is refractory celiac disease, and how is it treated?

While a gluten free diet tends to resolve symptoms in most individuals, in a small group of patients, the gluten free diet fails to control the symptoms including abdominal pain and malabsorption. These patients are considered refractory to diet treatment. It is important that other types of bowel disease, including Crohn's disease are first excluded before making this diagnosis. If diet therapy fails to resolve symptoms, refractory celiac disease is often treated with the same medications used in other autoimmune disorders to decrease inflammation. These medications include corticosteroids (prednisone), azathioprine (Imuarn, Azasan) and cyclosporine.

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