Medication Seen to Help Prevent Post-Surgery Relapse in Crohn’s Patients Who Smoke

Medication Seen to Help Prevent Post-Surgery Relapse in Crohn’s Patients Who Smoke
Smoking long has been associated with an increased relapse risk for patients with Crohn's disease. But results of a new trial indicate that the immunosupressive medication mercaptopurine (Purinethol)  has a greater effect on patients who continue to smoke after having intestinal resection surgery. The benefit of the drug in preventing relapses was negligible in nonsmokers, who probably could be managed by close monitoring without the need for drug therapy. Results of the study are published in Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, in a article titled Mercaptopurine versus placebo to prevent recurrence of Crohn's disease after surgical resection (TOPPIC): a multicentre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial.” Estimates vary regarding the frequency of surgical resection in Crohn's disease, a chronic, relapsing inflammatory bowel disease. Historical data suggest that up to 60% of patients need a major abdominal resection within 10 years of diagnosis. Purinethol is an immunosuppressive medication used to treat Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. “There is an unmet need to identify therapies or lifestyle changes that prevent Crohn’s disease recurrence after surgery to avoid patients having to undergo multiple operations,” Jack Satsangi, DPhil, of the gastrointestinal unit in the Center of Genomics and Experimental Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, a
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