5 Medications Used to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Medications for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have three main aims: to prevent symptoms, ease symptoms, and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease. According to the Crohn's Colitis Foundation, there are five main types of medications used to treat IBD: Aminosalicylates Aminosalicylates are used to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and are often prescribed to people with ulcerative colitis or mild cases of Crohn's disease. They can be taken in liquid, tablet or suppository form, depending on where in the GI tract the inflammation is. Corticosteroids Because IBD is an autoimmune disease, drugs which quiet down the immune system can help reduce inflammation in the GI tract. They are used when patients experience flares as they can usually get to work quickly. Corticosteroids should not be used as a long-term treatment for IBD as there is a high risk of side effects. Depending on the type of medication, corticosteroids can be taken as a pill, as a suppository or as an injectable. Immunomodulators Immunomodulators also work to reduce patients' overactive immune system but unlike corticosteroids, they can be used as a long-term treatment, particularly since it can take up to six months before they begin to work. They are often taken alongside corticosteroids until they begin to take effect. Immunomodulators are either injected or taken orally. MORE: Immune therapy shows response and remission in Crohn's disease patients. 
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