There are various prescription medications that can treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis . The brief descriptions of the drugs offered within this article do not include all their adverse effects or problems. IBD patients should thoroughly go over their drug regimen with their physician.
Steroids Prednisone is one example. Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have long been treated with steroids. Because they act immediately, they are frequently used when symptoms suddenly worsen. But they come with many drawbacks, including elevated blood sugar levels, increased risk of osteoporosis, and increased infections. We attempt to switch from using steroids to a longer-lasting drug as soon as it is safe. Since the body takes time to acclimate to reduced levels, patients taking steroids shouldn’t abruptly stop taking them without seeing their doctor.
Mesalamine is one example. Individuals with ulcerative colitis and certain patients with Crohn’s disease frequently take mesalamine as their first-line treatment. Patients using mesalamine will have frequent renal tests performed, although adverse effects are rare. Mesalamine comes in various brands with various dosage guidelines and tablet forms. Patients with trouble remembering to take their medications should talk to their doctor about this.
6-Mercaptopurine (Purinethol®), Azathioprine (Imuran®), and methotrexate
The term “immunomodulators” is frequently used to describe these drugs. They function by reducing the quantity or activity of the cells in your intestines that are the source of inflammation. They have long been used as chemotherapy for several tumors and in treating individuals who have undergone organ transplants, rheumatoid arthritis, and other disorders. Blood testing might check for unusual adverse effects such as liver or pancreatic inflammation. Additionally, there is a marginally elevated risk of infection and lymphoma, a kind of blood cancer. Patients who intend to have children should see their doctor before using methotrexate since it is unsafe during pregnancy. Despite these concerns, we often use these drugs for inflammatory bowel disease since they are safer than frequent or chronic steroids.
Adalimumab (Humira®), Certolizumab Pegol (Cimzia®), and Infliximab (Remicade®)
The term “biologics” is frequently used to describe these drugs. They all work to counteract the impact of a substance known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-Î). They lessen the activity of the inflammatory cells by inhibiting TNF-Î. These drugs are administered intravenously or intramuscularly. These drugs might make you more likely to become sick and develop lymphoma, a kind of blood cancer. Despite these concerns, we often use these drugs for inflammatory bowel disease since they are safer than frequent or chronic steroids.
The drug natalizumab prevents white blood cells that cause inflammation from getting to the lining of your intestines. The cells may not get to the lining of your colon, reducing inflammation. An intravenous infusion is used to provide this medicine. A higher risk of infection exists. Progressive multifocal encephalopathy is this drug’s uncommon yet severe side effect (PML). This results from an infection with a virus in the brain, which may be highly dangerous. Patients who got natalizumab for Crohn’s disease have only experienced one instance of PML, and the risk is thought to be 1 in 1,000.