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Part 2: The Way Medication Is Presented To Patients Matters!

In part 1, I shared a bit about my dad being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, ankylosing spondylitis. I know this has impacted my thoughts in terms of how gastroenterologists explain treatment options to newly diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease patients.

Maintence medications and therapies for IBD

One of the common misconceptions among IBD patients and their caregivers is that the medications available to treat Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis only mask symptoms. While that is true for medications like Prednisone, it is not true for the majority of maintenance medications nowadays.

The era of biologics began in the early 2000’s. It was just in the very beginning stage, with Remicade being the first one approved for Crohn’s Disease. While it was approved by the FDA for use in Crohn’s patients, it was not approved for those who suffered from ulcerative colitis. As the years went on and more research was done, a wide range of biologics have now flooded the market for both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

Biologics entering the autoimmune disease world has been a game changer for many. And while it used to be a last resort for many patients, research has shown the earlier a biologic is given, the better the long term outcome. These medications have been shown to stop the progression of diseases in many. By treating the underlying reason for the inflammation (as opposed to the inflammation itself), the body is in a healthier state.

My opinion: the natural route versus medications

During the time when biologics were only given to patients who didn’t respond to any other medication, oftentimes the damage would be too severe by that point. As with any medication, the longer you wait to treat it, the less of a chance that the medication will be effective. It is for that reason that I have a huge issue with those who promote dietary changes, supplements and other lifestyle alterations before someone is in complete clinical remission. While is it understandable to want to try everything natural before putting strong medications in your system, it is important to understand that it could be making your disease and the prognosis worse.

I digress back to my dad’s situation..

While I am happy for him that daily NSaids and exercise are helping his symptoms, I worry about his future. I worry that his disease is unknowingly causing more damage because he is waiting to begin a more long term maintenance therapy.

Considering biologics for IBD?

To anyone reading this who may be considering biologics or are having a difficult time getting their head around all of the new information they were just given, I hope you know it is completely understandable. I write this now, after 18 years of personal experience with this disease. But believe me when I tell you I had no idea what was going on when I was initially diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. I have spent way too long researching and studying all different types of scenarios. I honestly feel terrible for someone who is newly diagnosed because there is so much information out there and it is beyond difficult to even know where to begin.

I will say this, though. The fact that you are online reading articles about your new chronic condition is HUGE. It may not seem like it but it is a gigantic step. We appreciate you being part of our community and hope to help you navigate this journey in any way we can.

Do you have any questions for us? Any thoughts/concerns about certain medications? Have you been trying your hardest to manage your IBD without medications? How has it been going? Are you on a biologic? How has it impacted your life? We are in this together and would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    3 months ago

    I’ve been on Remicade, Entivio, Humira and now Stelara. I like the fact that Stelara is a self administered injection. I really enjoy the convenience factor and not having to spend have my day at an infusion center. As far as symptoms are concerned, I feel like Stelara is helping a bit but I’m not getting the results I would have liked. I have been on it for just over a year now.

    Thank you for sharing the article. Great topic!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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