Is Excedrin Gluten-free?

With headaches and migraines being a common symptom of gluten exposure, many people wonder, is Excedrin gluten-free?

Whether your head hurts because of gluten or because of something else, let’s talk about if Excedrin contains gluten. After all, the last thing you want to do when fighting off a migraine is deal with the headache (pun intended) of trying to determine if it’s gluten-free.

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What is Excedrin?

Before we dive into if Excedrin is gluten-free, let’s talk about what exactly is Excedrin? Excedrin is a brand of over-the-counter medications that provide relief for different types of headaches. You can find Excedrin specifically formulated for tension headaches, migraines, and extra strength for stubborn pains. It combines aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine together for fast headache relief.

If you have celiac disease and you’re still healing your gut, you may be concerned about taking medications with NSAIDs like aspirin. Always discuss concerns about medications with your pharmacist or doctor.

And if you’re super concerned, you can always choose non-NSAID pain relievers like acetaminophen or Tylenol. Though these medications can have their own side effects impacting celiac as well. What’s important to note is that the risks of these medications are typically tied to long-term overuse.

Is Excedrin Gluten-free - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

Is Excedrin Gluten-Free?

Based on the ingredients, Excedrin is gluten-free. When checking if Excedrin contains gluten, it’s important to check the ingredients and contact the manufacturer with questions. If you’re checking the ingredients yourself, in general, you want to look for starches, dextrins, or dextrates that could be derived from wheat. Dextrans and dextrose are not considered concerns, as dextrans come from corn or potato and dextrose comes from corn.

Is Excedrin PM Headache Gluten-Free?

To figure out if Excedrin PM Headache contains gluten, let’s check the active and inactive ingredients. Active ingredients include aspirin, acetaminophen, and diphenhydramine citrate. All gluten-free.

The inactive ingredients include benzoic acid, calcium carbonate, F&DC blue no. 1 aluminum lake, ferric oxide yellow, hypromellose, low-substituted hydroxypropyl cellulose, magnesium stearate, maltodextrin, medium-chain triglycerides, polydextrose, polysorbate 80, povidone, pregelatinized corn starch, silicified microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, talc, titanium dioxide, zinc stearate.

Remember, dextrose is considered gluten-free and derived from corn, so polydextrose is not a concern. However, maltodextrin raises a red flag because dextrins can be derived from gluten. However, maltodextrin is actually gluten-free regardless of starting material due to the high level of processing. For more on these confusing ingredients, check out my Gluten-free Labeling Workbook

So yes, Excedrin PM Headache is gluten-free. But manufacturing and ingredients can change, so always double-check suitability for yourself.

Is Excedrin Migraine Medicine Gluten-Free?

Now let’s see if Excedrin Migraine Medicine contains gluten. Again, we check the active and inactive ingredients. Active ingredients include aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. All gluten-free.

Inactive ingredients include benzoic acid, carnauba wax, FD&C blue no. 1, hypromellose, light mineral oil, low-substituted hydroxypropyl cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, polysorbate 20, povidone, propylene glycol, simethicone, sorbitan monolaurate, stearic acid, titanium dioxide. No starches, dextrins, or dextrates to worry about.

So Excedrin Migraine is gluten-free. But manufacturing and ingredients can change, so always double-check suitability for yourself.

Is Excedrin Tension Headache Gluten-Free?

To decide if Excedrin Tension Headache is gluten-free, let’s check the active and inactive ingredients. This product’s active ingredients are acetaminophen and caffeine.

Inactive Excedrin Tension Headache ingredients include benzoic acid, D&C red no. 27 aluminum lake, FD&C blue no. 2 aluminum lake, FD&C yellow no.6 aluminum lake, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol, povidone, pregelatinized starch, stearic acid, talc, titanium dioxide. The pregelatinized starch is a red flag because starches can contain gluten. This is something to ask the manufacturer about.

When clarifying if this product was in fact gluten-free or made with gluten-derived ingredients, the manufacturer said “GSK CH confirms that Excedrin Tension Headache, Excedrin Migraine Tablets and Excedrin Extra Strength Caplet do not contain gluten as a direct ingredient or ingredients derived from wheat, barley or rye.” – Email from 3/31/2022

So yes, Excedrin Extra Tension Headache is gluten-free. But manufacturing and ingredients can change, so always double-check suitability for yourself.

Excedrin Response to Being Questioned if Products are Gluten-free or if the Pre-Gelatinized Starch is dervied from gluten.
Response from Excedrin when emailing them about the safety of their product.

Is Excedrin Extra Strength Gluten-Free?

To determine if Excedrin Extra Strength contain gluten, let’s look at its active and inactive ingredients. Active ingredients: aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. All of which are gluten-free. 

Inactive ingredients: corn starch, crospovidone, hypromellose, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium starch glycolate, stearic acid, titanium dioxide. There is sodium starch glycolate, which features one of the red flag ingredients to watch out for, starch. This is something to ask the manufacturer about.

In this case, I verified with the manufacturer who confirmed that there are no gluten containing or derived ingredients in this product. So yes, Excedrin Extra Strength is gluten-free. But manufacturing and ingredients can change, so always double-check suitability for yourself.

What Headache and Migraine Medicine is Gluten-free? - Tayler Silfverduk, Celiac Dietitian

What Headache and Migraine Medicine is Gluten-free?

Looking for other gluten-free headache and migraine medication? If you’re uncomfortable with the Excedrin Manufacturer statement that they do not verify their products to be gluten-free through testing so cross-contact can’t be ruled out, then you may want to consider other medications. Below are some gluten-free over the counter options (some affiliate links are featured below):

That said, I do want to say that risk of cross-contact in medication manufacturing is very low. Manufacturers have to make sure equipment is clean between use to prevent the mixture of active ingredients as this can be extremely hazardous.

For more help on identifying gluten in medications, check out the Celiac  Crash Course, where I walk you through it STEP by STEP. Plus you’ll get access to the Celiac Marketplace, a place where I list products I’ve personally checked myself to be GF. Including over-the-counter medications.

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