Steroid therapy is commonly used to treat acute attacks of the inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease; however, because it does not provide long-term benefits and it carries a risk of serious side effects, it should not be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease for more than three months.
In a large study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers at 19 centers in the UK report that, among 2,385 patients with inflammatory bowel disease, 14.8% showed evidence of steroid excess or dependency, and the steroid excess was judged avoidable in over 50% of cases.
The seven centers that had participated in a quality improvement program had significantly fewer patients (11.5% versus 17.1%) receiving excess steroids.
Looking at steroid prescribing for inflammatory bowel disease and trying to reduce steroid excess can be a powerful way to improve patient care and outcomes."
Christian P. Selinger, MD, MSc, MRCP, lead author from St. James University Hospital
Selinger, C.P., et al. (2019) Assessment of steroid use as a key performance indicator in inflammatory bowel disease—analysis of data from 2385 UK patients. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. doi.org/10.1111/apt.15497.