The Anonymous Widower

Ritalin, ADHD and a Gluten-Free Diet

In my previous post on Tamiflu, I found the Electronic Medicines Compendium.

The EMC is very comprehensive and contains all of the details you need to know about a drug.  Type something as simple as Cough into the search and you get a list of proprietary cough products, with cough in the title. This sort of search is very useful, as finding a gluten-free cough mixture is very difficult.  One of the Boots ones is gluten-free, but I’m not sure which.  Many use glucose as a soothing agent.  And where does the gluten come from.  Wheat!

Out of curiosity I used one of the advanced search features of the EMC to search for wheat. I got ten hits and one of them was Ritalin. The tablets contain wheat starch.

Ritalin is used to control ADHD and similar problems in children.

As someone who follows the gluten-free literature, I have come across many references to using a gluten-free diet with ADHD, autism and Asperger’s.

Now I don’t know how much wheat starch Ritalin contains, but it does strike me as surprising, that one method of treatment might be undermined by another.

Update – It is three hours since I posted the original.  If you type Ritalin gluten into Google, this post is now second.  Does that mean that the connection is not spoken of commonly.  I’ve also found that Ritalin is a pretty old drug and this may account for the wheat starch filler.  Now, drug componies know more about coeliacs.

July 3, 2009 - Posted by | Health | , ,


  1. The wheat starch is supposed to be gluten free as the process eliminates most of the gluten, sadly there is no sure way to get rid of all gluten. So those who are hyper-sensitive coeliacs cannot take Ritalin (real stuff, not that generic rubbish). Best to check with you pharamcist, though both the tablet and oral form contain wheat starch, the oral apparently contains gluten also.

    But if like me you are allergic to gluten and wheat, it sucks to be you.

    Comment by Tim | October 13, 2009 | Reply

    • It’s a bit late to reply to your original post. I must have missed it when you posted.

      Hope you are well and going through COVID-19 as easily as I am!

      Comment by AnonW | April 17, 2020 | Reply

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