Un-promoted issues in inflammatory bowel disease: opportunities to optimize care

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Abstract:

Abstract

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), comprising Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), are chronic inflammatory disorders of the gut, which lead to significant morbidity and impaired quality of life (QoL) in sufferers, without generally affecting mortality. Despite CD and UC being chronic, life-long illnesses, most medical management is directed at acute flares of disease. Moreover, with more intensive medical therapy and the development of biological therapy, there is a risk that management will become even more narrowly focused on acute care, and be directed only at those with more severe disease, rather than encompassing all sufferers and addressing important non-acute issues. This imbalance of concentration of medical attention on ‘high-end’ care is in part driven by the need to perform and publish randomized clinical trials of newer therapies to obtain registration and licensing for these agents, which thus occupy a large proportion of the recent IBD treatment literature. This leads to less attention on relatively ‘low-technology’ issues including: (i) the psychosocial burden of chronic disease, QoL and specific psychological comorbidities; (ii) comorbidity with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs); (iii) maintenance therapy, monitoring and compliance; (iv) smoking (with regard to CD); (v) sexuality, fertility, family planning and pregnancy; and (vi) iron deficiency and anaemia. We propose these to be the ‘Un-promoted Issues’ in IBD and review the importance and treatment of each of these in the current management of IBD.

Keywords: compliance; fertility; functional gastrointestinal disorder; iron deficiency; psychological co-morbidity; sexuality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1445-5994.2009.02110.x

Affiliations: Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Royal Adelaide Hospital,

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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