New Use for Existing Medications Eases the Pain for IBD Sufferers



The wake of the first UK audit of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has brought about an interesting new treatment option for sufferers of IBD.

IBD is an important condition in the UK, affecting 24’000 people. It is caused by a myriad of reasons but the most prominent one of these is the overuse of NSAID medication such as ibuprofen. Current treatment options involve the use of immunosuppressants and/or corticosteroids. If the patient is unresponsive to both of these they are then placed on a monoclonal antibody. This treatment study reversed that idea, giving the patients the monoclonal antibodies first.

Treatment was with two monoclonal antibodies, Remicade (infliximab) provided by MSD and Humira (adalimumab) provided by AbbVie. The results were very positive; remission rates for adults were 62% and 73% for paedriatric patients.

The primary reason this treatment option has not been researched before is sadly down to money; the drugs cost £10’000 per patient, per year. However, it has been suggested that with remission rates so high, patients will require less medical support, hospital appointments and surgery so the benefits are worth the increased price of the drug.

There is currently no formal recommendation for this drug to be prescribed before the thorough exploration of the other medications, and indeed, there will be many people who respond just as well to the other options. Sufferers are encouraged, however, to approach their doctor with the option of transferring onto a monoclonal antibody if they feel they are not getting the most from their current treatment.

To read more about the research and about IBD, please click here:

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