Ulcerative Colitis Medication

Corticosteroids are another type of medication used for ulcerative colitis. Prednisone is one example of a corticosteroid. These medicines can be used to reduce inflammation and other symptoms. They are most commonly used in people who have severe active ulcerative colitis or who do not respond to aminosalicylates.
Similar to aminosalicylates, there are many types of corticosteroids and many different ways to take them. During periods of severe inflammation, corticosteroids can be given through an IV and at higher doses. The dosage is then lowered as ulcerative colitis symptoms improve.
Some possible side effects of corticosteroids include:
Corticosteroids are not approved specifically for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. The practice of using approved drugs for unapproved indications is commonly referred to as using medicines "off-label."
Some symptoms or complications of ulcerative colitis, such as skin disorders and arthritis, may be caused by an overactive immune system. So, in these cases, immunosuppressive medication may be given to reduce the strength of the immune response, thus decreasing inflammation. These drugs are often prescribed for people who don't respond to treatment with other "less toxic" medications. They can help decrease the symptoms a person has and delay the return of symptoms if the patient is in remission.
Immunosuppressive medications are taken in pill form, or sometimes as injections. You may need to take these medications along with other medications at first to help reduce your symptoms. This is because immunosuppressive medications can take up to several months to be fully effective.
When patients are treated with a combination of corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs, the dose of corticosteroids may eventually be lowered. Some studies suggest that immunosuppressive drugs may enhance the effectiveness of corticosteroids.
The most commonly prescribed medications include:
These drugs may cause side effects like:
Biologic Response Modifiers
Biologic response modifiers are the newest medications for ulcerative colitis. One specific type of biologic response modifiers are known as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, or TNF inhibitors for short.
TNF is a protein produced by the immune system that may cause the inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis. TNF inhibitors remove TNF from the bloodstream before it reaches the intestines, thereby preventing inflammation. Infliximab (Remicade®), golimumab (Simponi®), and adalimumab (Humira®) are TNF inhibitors approved for ulcerative colitis treatment.
These medications are highly effective at treating patients with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis who have not responded to other medicines. They can help decrease symptoms and put ulcerative colitis into remission. They may also help decrease flare-ups from ulcerative colitis and decrease the need for long-term corticosteroids.
Side effects can include abdominal pain (or stomach pain), a cough, dizziness, fainting, headaches, muscle pain, a runny nose, shortness of breath, a sore throat, vomiting, and wheezing.
Doctor monitoring is important, particularly if you have an active infection or a central nervous system disorder, or have had exposure to tuberculosis. You will need to be evaluated for tuberculosis before treatment begins.

Information on Ulcerative Colitis

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