Facing Down Crohn’s and Related Diseases

Inflammatory bowel disease – which includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – affects 1.6 million Americans, a number that continues to rise. Each year, the U.S. sees 70,000 new cases diagnosed. Although a cure remains elusive, these chronic and life-long diseases can be treated with a variety of treatment options.

Researchers continue to refine their understanding of medication effectiveness with inflammatory bowel disease. Recently, in a meta-analysis of anti-TNF medications, researchers report that these medications lower the chances by half of someone with inflammatory bowel disease requiring hospitalization for their condition. In addition, the risk of surgery is reduced by 33-77% with the use of anti-TNF medications. A meta-analysis pools data from multiple prior studies in order to determine statistical significance when the individual studies may have been too small to determine.

In further research news related to inflammatory bowel disease, a biosimilar form of the anti-TNF medication infliximab was investigated. Biosimilar medications are not the same as generic medications. Rather, biosimilars are less expensive versions of already approved biologic medications; they are typically large complex molecules manufactured in living systems. The biosimilars are almost (but not exactly) the same medication as the original biologic.

In the case of the biosimilar for infliximab (which is called CT-P13), researchers determined that there is no significant difference in terms of safety, efficacy, or immunogenicity between infliximab and CT-P13. This conclusion was reached after reviewing 11 previous studies of inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Ongoing research, such as the studies I am sharing in this week’s blog, point to progress and continued hope in the treatment of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Stephen C. Vogt, Pharm.D.
President and CEO
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy | www.bioplusrx.com

Radin M, Sciascia S, Roccatello D, et al. Infliximab biosimilars in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases: A systematic review. BioDrugs 2016 Dec 29 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s40259-016-0206-1. PMID: 28035633

Mao EJ, Hazlewood GS, Kaplan GG, et al. Systematic review with meta-analysis: comparative efficacy of immunosuppressants and biologics for reducing hospitalisation and surgery in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2016 Nov 10 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/apt.13847. PMID: 27862107

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