Are Biologics an Effective Treatment for Crohn’s Disease?
Living with Crohn’s disease can be an overwhelming and challenging journey for the more than half a million Americans affected by this chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
While various treatments are available, biologic medications have emerged as a significant advancement in managing Crohn’s disease.
Watch the video: Are Biologics an Effective Treatment for Crohn’s Disease?
What are Biologic Medications?
Biologic medications, also known as biologics or biological drugs, are a class of medications derived from living cells or organisms.
Unlike traditional chemically synthesized drugs, biologics undergo production using advanced biotechnology processes.
What makes this class of medication unique is its ability to target specific molecules in your body’s immune system that cause chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
By modulating the immune system, biologics help to reduce inflammation, promote healing of the intestinal lining, and alleviate the symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease.
Common Biologics Used in the Treatment of Crohn’s
There are various FDA-approved biologic medicines available to treat moderate to severe Crohn’s Disease in patients who do not respond well to conventional therapy, including:
Infliximab (Remicade): Infliximab is an intravenous biologic medication that blocks tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), an inflammatory protein. It helps reduce inflammation and promote healing in the intestines.
Vedolizumab (Entyvio): Vedolizumab is an intravenous biologic medication that selectively blocks specific immune cells involved in inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. It helps control inflammation and maintain remission in Crohn’s disease patients.
Ustekinumab (Stelara): Healthcare professionals administer Ustekinumab through subcutaneous injections, and it targets interleukin-12 (IL-12) and interleukin-23 (IL-23), two proteins associated with inflammation in Crohn’s disease. It can induce and maintain remission in patients who have had an inadequate response to other therapies.
Working with Your Healthcare Team to Decide if Biologics Are Right Treatment For You
Deciding whether biologics are the proper treatment for Crohn’s disease should be a collaborative effort between you as a patient and your healthcare team.
Before prescribing biologics, there are many factors you and your doctor need to consider.
Thorough evaluation: Your healthcare team will assess the severity of your disease, medical history, previous treatments, and potential risks and benefits of biologics.
Weighing the risks and benefits: Although biologics are helping improve symptoms for many patients, this type of medication is not for everyone.
Your healthcare team will help you understand the potential risks and weigh them against the benefits of improved disease control and quality of life.
Asking questions and setting realistic goals is vital during this stage.
Shared decision-making: Remember, you are your best advocate. So please discuss your treatment goals, preferences, and concerns with your healthcare team before starting biologic infusion therapy.
Regular monitoring: If your doctor determines biologics are a viable treatment option, they will conduct regular monitoring to assess your response to treatment, make necessary dose adjustments, and manage any potential adverse side effects.
Biologic medications have revolutionized the treatment of Crohn’s disease by targeting specific immune system components responsible for chronic inflammation. Thanks to ongoing research that provides a better understanding of how Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) progresses, new medications are on the horizon.
If you have moderate to severe Crohn’s disease that doesn’t respond well to traditional therapies, we urge you to contact your healthcare team to determine if biologic treatment is right for you.