Celiac Disease Underdiagnosed?
Only 5% of Patients Correctly Diagnosed With Gluten Intolerance
WebMD News Archive
Biopsy May Miss Celiac Disease continued...
The fact that they got worse shows they had celiac disease, says researcher
Markku Maki, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Tampere in
Plus, when these patients then eliminated gluten from their diet, their
symptoms got better and their intestinal lining healed, he tells WebMD.
Green says researchers are working on a better blood test to detect celiac
There are other reasons celiac disease is often missed, he adds. "It's a
problem of physician education, as doctors are taught it's a rare childhood
disease," he says. In fact, celiac disease can appear at any point in life.
Then, there's the fact that the symptoms are so varied. Patients may go to
one doctor for bloating and diarrhea, another for joint pain, and
another for unexplained anemia, and no one puts all the pieces of the puzzle
together, Green says.
New Pill for Celiac Disease
Once celiac disease is diagnosed, "the only effective treatment is a
lifelong gluten-free diet. But gluten is so ubiquitous that it is difficult to
completely get it out of the diet," Green says.
Inadvertent consumption of gluten is the major causes of symptoms in people
who know they have the disease, he says.
That's why researchers are closely watching early studies of two new
treatments that may help protect patients with celiac disease from exposure to
The first study looked at an experimental pill called larazotide, also known
as AT-1001. It blocks gluten from crossing into the intestinal lining where it
can cause harm.
The study of 69 patients showed that those who were given gluten and
larazotide had less nausea, bloating, and other symptoms of celiac disease
than those who were given gluten and a placebo. However, the drug did no better
than placebo at preventing gluten from leaking through the intestine lining
over the 14 days of active treatment, which was the study's primary goal.
"What was surprising was that leakage improved in all patients over the
first week," says Daniel Leffler, MD, clinical research director at the Celiac
Disease Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.