Excessive Steroid Use in IBD Patients Could Be Avoided in More than Half of Cases, Study Reports

Excessive Steroid Use in IBD Patients Could Be Avoided in More than Half of Cases, Study Reports
People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the U.K. are commonly treated with corticosteroids, but a portion of these patients are treated excessively with steroids — and more than half of these could be avoided, a large-scale study suggests. The study, “Assessment of steroid use as a key performance indicator in inflammatory bowel disease—analysis of data from 2385 UK patients,” was published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. In recent years, significant advances have been made to better understand the underlying mechanisms involved in IBD. This improved knowledge has supported the development and approval of new therapies, such as biological medicines that specifically prevent and help manage the autoimmune processes involved in this disease. Still, corticosteroids — which can also regulate immune responses but in a more generalized manner — remain the most common treatment strategy for IBD. International studies have found that approximately 30–50% of IBD patients continue to be exposed to corticosteroids each year. In particular, about 10–20% of these patients take corticosteroids in excess, about half of which potentially could be avoided. U.K. researchers conducted a large-scale study involving 11 clinical centers across England, Wales, and Scotland to further explore the trends of steroid use and its impact among IBD patients. The study included a total of 2,385 patients, of whom 46.6% had Crohn’s disease, 49.9% had ulcerative colitis, and 3.5% had unspecified IBD. Among the treatments used by this population were biologic therapies (in 26.8% of cases) — including anti‐TNF and anti-integrin antibodies — and 28% of patients took steroids within the previous 12 months. A total of 352 patients
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