Study Links Etanercept with Increased IBD Risk

Study Links Etanercept with Increased IBD Risk
Treatment with etanercept may increase a person's risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a study suggests. The study, "Increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis in 17 018 patients while under treatment with anti‐TNFα agents, particularly etanercept, for autoimmune diseases other than inflammatory bowel disease," was published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Etanercept (brand name Enbrel) is part of a class of medications called anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNFα) agents. As the name suggests, these compounds work by blocking TNFα, which is a signaling molecule that drives inflammation. As such, anti-TNFα agents often are prescribed for people with autoimmune diseases, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Although these treatments can be effective, they can — rather paradoxically —  increase the risk for developing other autoimmune conditions. In the new study, researchers wondered whether IBD might be one of those other conditions. Using Danish health registries, researchers analyzed rates of IBD (both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) in 17,018 people who had been given an anti-TNFα at least once, and in 63,308 people who had never been exposed to an anti-TNFα agent. People who had been treated with etanercept were twice as likely to develop either ulcera
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