Study explores steroid prescribing rates for patients with inflammatory bowel disease

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

Journal reference:

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.


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