There is currently no cure for IBD, but recent medical trials have resulted in a variety of therapy options. Treatment for IBD is very individualized and is based on the severity and location of inflammation, susceptibility to side effects, age and personal/family preferences. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease share many of the same treatments.
Drug treatment is the most common and effective method for treating IBD in the short and long-term. Your doctor may prescribe a number of different medications alone or in combination based on your needs. There are six main categories of drugs used in IBD:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce inflammation in the intestinal tract and throughout the body. Two main groups of anti-inflammatory drugs are used: glucocorticoids (steroids) and mesalamine-containing drugs. Glucocorticoids are often used to treat IBD flares; where as mesalamine-containing drugs are used to manage long-term inflammation.
- Immunosuppressant medications are used to reduce inflammation by decreasing the body’s immune response.
- Biologic drugs are used to decrease inflammation by blocking or activating specific molecules or receptors in the body. Biologic drugs work very specifically to decrease inflammation in the intestines.
- Antibiotics are useful in Crohn’s disease to help clear infections from a fistula or abscess.
- Pain relief medications are used to reduce the abdominal pain associated with IBD.