Crohn’s Patients Who Smoke at Higher Risk of Relapse After Surgery, Study Reports

Crohn’s Patients Who Smoke at Higher Risk of Relapse After Surgery, Study Reports
People with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are more likely to experience a post-surgery disease relapse if they smoke, new research finds. The study, “Mercaptopurine versus placebo to prevent recurrence of Crohn’s disease after surgical resection (TOPPIC): a multicentre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial,” was published in the August issue of the journal The Lancet. "There is an unmet need to identify therapies or life-style changes that prevent Crohn's disease recurrence after surgery to avoid patients having to undergo multiple operations,” Jack Satsangi, the study's leader and a professor at the Centre of Genomics and Experimental Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said in a press release. "Our study confirms that the most important thing somebody with Crohn's disease can do for their health is not to smoke.” Researchers assessed if mercaptopurine — a medication from the thiopurine family, a class of drugs that dampen the immune system, and a class commonly prescribed to Crohn’s patients — was effective at preventing relapses after surgery. (In Crohn's disease, the immune system attacks the lining of the gut and bowel, causing severe inflammation. More than half of all patients eventually require surgery to remove the affected section of the bowel. But even after surgery, the condition can flare again.) The study involved 240 Crohn’s disease patients from across the U.K. Participants were monitored for three years after undergoing surgery. In total, 128 patients were given mercaptopurine, and 122 were given placebo. Of the 29 smokers, only three in the mercaptopurine group experienced a relapse, compared to 12 of the 26 smokers who received placebo. The relapse rate in the non-s
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