Several new drugs have been recommended for off-label use for the treatment of patients suffering from Crohn’s disease according to the latest clinical guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence today (10 October 2012).
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder that mainly target gastrointestinal tract (GIT). It is estimated that 115,000 people in UK are suffering from Crohn’s disease. It can affect at any age but mostly it usually starts between the ages of 15 to 30 years. It is slightly more common in women in comparison to men.
Currently Crohn’s disease is treated by using drug therapy, nutrition supplements, smoking cessation, and surgery in certain severe cases.
Some new drugs recommended by NICE for the treatment of Crohn’s disease in adults, children and young people include glucocorticosteroids such as prednisolone, methylprednisolone or intravenous hydrocortisone.
According to the NICE conventional glucocorticosteroid should be used when monotherapy is offered “to induce remission in people with a first presentation or a single inflammatory exacerbation of Crohn’s disease in a 12-month period.”
“Healthcare professionals should consider adding azathioprine or mercaptopurine to a conventional glucocorticosteroid or budesonide to induce remission of Crohn’s disease in two cases.”
NICE has recommended that healthcare professionals should discuss about disease with patients including the possible treatment options that can be used. They should counsel patients regarding the effects of disease and drugs on a person’s lifestyle.
Further information that should be provided to the patients include possible delay of growth and puberty in children, diet and nutrition, fertility and sexual relationships, prognosis, side effects of their treatment, cancer risk, surgery, care of young people in transition between paediatric and adult services, and contact details for support groups.
Professor Mark Baker, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: “Crohn’s disease is affecting increasing numbers of people in England including children and young people.
“Its symptoms can be painful and unpleasant, and have a significant negative impact on quality of life.
“Therefore it is important that there are clear, evidence-based guidelines in place that can help improve the care offered to people with Crohn’s disease.”
Andy Player, patient/carer member of the guideline development group, addeed: “Any Crohn’s patient reading these guidelines should be confident that the best evidence has been picked over, discussed and debated to produce robust recommendations on the treatment of their condition.
“As someone with Crohn’s disease who took part in this process, I was impressed by how the discussion of every recommendation had the interests of each and every Crohn’s patient at its heart.”
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