For some patients with ulcerative colitis, biological agents are important in treating many painful symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. First of all, here is a review of why these symptoms occur.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon and rectum; your specific symptoms may vary depending on where the inflammation occurs in the digestive tract.
Although there is no cure, treatment can reduce inflammation and its accompanying symptoms and make you more comfortable.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis often take biologics, a class of drugs that reduce inflammation in various ways.
If you are interested in trying a biological product, it is a good idea to understand how these drugs work for you. The following are some questions about this type of ulcerative colitis medication, please consult your doctor.
Why did you choose this creature for me?
According to Abhik Bhattacharya, MD, assistant professor of gastroenterology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, when choosing your medicine, the doctor will consider many factors, from your medical history to the doctor’s experience in prescribing a particular medicine. Stephen B.
Hanauer, MD, professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Northwestern University, explained that doctors themselves do not know which medicine is best for you, so they usually make a decision based on your conversation.
We make a joint decision’ with each patient to describe the benefits and risks of each drug and how they are administered,” he told SELF.
Please note that your treatment options may change over time based on new research and recently available therapies. Make sure you and your doctor continue to discuss which treatment options might be best for you.
Dr. Hanauer explained that cost is usually a major determinant. “Usually, the insurance company will determine which drugs the patient can accept.
Is my physiology suitable for my lifestyle?
Taking biologics is more complicated than swallowing pills every morning because these drugs come in the form of injections.
However, treatment may differ in terms of time commitment and delivery method; some biological agents are administered by intravenous (IV) infusion, and the process may take several hours.
Other biological agents are self-injected under the skin. (If your doctor prescribes this form for you, you should be able to apply for injection training.
Megan Starshak, a patient with ulcerative colitis and an advocate for the Crohn’s Disease and Colitis Foundation, has already After using biological products for more than ten years, she told SELF that she must arrange a time of day for treatment.
Recently, Starshak has a family nurse who manages intravenous treatment. So I got rid of work, school, and other pressures. I just eat snacks, watch TV, and relax under a blanket,” she said.
I think of it as my time.” But not everyone can keep a treatment window of more than an hour every few weeks.
Of course, not everyone is satisfied with having a nurse at home or going to a public health facility at this time.
Dr. Bhattacharya said that this is why it is important to “enable patients to truly participate in joint decision-making regarding treatment”.
What are the side effects?
Remember, side effects are not unique to biologics-all drugs have risks. Dr. Bhattacharya explained that this is still a key factor that needs to be understood before deciding on any treatment, and doctors often consider side effects before prescribing drugs.
The most common biological side effects include injection site reactions, such as pain, redness, or rash.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you may also be more susceptible to infection when taking biologics because these drugs target your immune system to reduce inflammation.
If you are concerned about side effects, you may need to ask your doctor some follow-up questions. After they explain what will happen. Here are some factors to consider:
- How many of your patients have side effects?
- What are the most common side effects of your patients?
- How will we manage possible side effects?
Starhawk said that based on her experience, she felt very lucky because she did not experience any side effects.
Will biological agents help me achieve remission?
Unfortunately, your doctor cannot predict whether you will achieve relief or no symptoms after taking a particular drug.
This is the goal of treatment: to induce and maintain remission,” said Dr. Bhattacharya. However, he explained that your doctor might know the percentage of people who usually respond well to their specific biological agents.
Will my creature stop working?
What should I do if this happens? Dr. Hanauer explained that your treatment may stop working at some point for a variety of reasons.
The first is that if you don’t follow the recommended treatment plan, this explains why choosing drugs that fit your lifestyle is so important, he said.
Sometimes your immune system produces antibodies against organisms because it mistakes the drug for an intruder. (This is similar to how your body responds to the common cold.) When this happens, biological agents cannot effectively treat your symptoms.
According to LeaAnn Chen, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers
University, doctors can combine biological drugs with additional immunosuppressive agents to help prevent your body from producing this Antibody.
According to the Mayo Clinic, as the name suggests, immunosuppressants suppress your immune system and this process can also reduce inflammation.
If your medicine stops working, you will naturally feel frustrated, but know that if not, you can try different biologics.
It is invalid. “Not all shoes are suitable for everyone. Dr. Bhattacharya said that many people will react to one biological form rather than another.
How do I know if my creature has stopped working?
Dr. Hanauer explained that usually, you will know because your original symptoms will reappear or get worse. For example, Dr. Bhattacharya said, you may start to feel extremely tired and have frequent diarrhea.
If symptoms such as severe fatigue start to affect your daily life again, he recommends that you call your doctor. It is best to take action as soon as possible to avoid problems such as vitamin deficiencies due to the inability to absorb nutrients.
Dr. Chen said that monitoring your symptoms is just one way to determine whether your medication is effective.
Dr. Bhattacharya said that you may need regular blood tests so that your doctor can detect markers of inflammation.
If you are concerned about face-to-face laboratory visits, it is worth asking your doctor how to receive this type of care in the safest way at this time.
If I plan to become pregnant, can I take biologics?
Chen said that more people should be more willing to talk about family planning if they choose biological and want to get pregnant.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, certain biological agents may be unsafe for pregnant women, but it is important to weigh the benefits and potential risks of any treatment.
Discussing all of this with your doctor can help you determine whether you should switch to another biological agent or completely change your treatment.
If the patient is considering trying to get pregnant, it is important to mention it as early as possible because it can help guide the decision on which biological agent is best to use,” said Dr. Chen.