Biologics Show Promise for Bowels

Biologic medications for inflammatory bowel disease may help heal intestines

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(RxWiki News) Biologic treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases may help heal the intestines, a new study found.

Inflammatory bowel diseases can cause damage to the intestine. Although anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the severity of symptoms in inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, they don't help heal the intestine. 

For some patients with inflammatory bowel disease, the lining of the intestine can remain damaged that surgery is required.

But in this study, researchers found that biologic treatments like the anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents infliximab and adalimumab may actually help heal damaged intestinal linings.

Researchers evaluated 12 randomized controlled trials and found these biologic treatments appeared to more effective at maintaining intestine healing in patients with Crohn's disease — compared to placebo treatment. For patients with ulcerative colitis, biologic anti-TNFs appeared to be more effective versus placebo. 

"As we are entering the era where we anticipate there will be many new treatments, each targeting inflammation differently, it is also important to understand the relative efficacy of these therapies in achieving our goal of (intestine) healing to appropriately position them in our treatment algorithms," said senior study author Dr. Ashwin Ananthakrishnan in a press release.

If you have questions about your medication for inflammatory bowel disease, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

This study was published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

The study authors disclosed no outside study funding sources. Some authors had received previous funding from pharmaceutical companies and health agencies.