For consumers

About IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease​)

  • The term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is used to describe a group of conditions that cause painful swelling and irritation (inflammation) in the digestive tract.​
  • The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.​
  • Medicines play an important role in relieving the symptoms of IBD. These medicines can also help keep your condition under control (remission), by reducing inflammation and allowing your bowel to heal.​
  • Most people with IBD will need to take medicines regularly to help manage the condition. These medicines are usually needed over a long period but the types and doses may change to keep the symptoms well managed.​
  • Some medicines for IBD will reduce the activity of your immune system. These are important for keeping your IBD in remission but may take 8 – 12 weeks to work.​
  • Some medicines used to treat ulcerative colitis may involve putting a suppository or enema into your rectum. This may seem unappealing but can keep your ulcerative colitis under control and help you feel better.
  • For biological medicines, there may be a biosimilar medicine available. Biosimilar medicines have been tested and shown to be as safe and effective as the reference biological medicine. Talk to your gastroenterologist about whether a biosimilar is right for you.

Resources to help you manage IBD​

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Deciding on the best way to use my ulcerative colitis medicines

Find out about medicines for ulcerative colitis, including how they are used, their benefits and what else you should consider if prescribed them. Use this tool with your gastroenterologist to help you  discuss  your needs and preferences before making a decision.

Download PDF
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Thiopurines for inflammatory bowel disease

Learn about the benefits and risks of these medicines for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and complete the plan for regular checks with your health care team.

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Low-dose methotrexate for Crohn’s disease

This action plan can help you discuss methotrexate with your gastroenterologist and plan the best way to take your medicine.

Download PDF

Translated resources

The above resources are available in Arabic, simplified Chinese (Mandarin) and Vietnamese.

Translated resources

Crohn’s disease, medicines and me: Sarah’s story

Watch how Sarah navigates life with Crohn’s disease, from diagnosis to finding treatment that works for her.

Further information

If you use a biological medicine to treat or keep a chronic condition under control, then you may have heard your doctor mention a group of medicines called biosimilars. Read on to learn more about these medicines.

Find out more

MedicineWise App

The MedicineWise app is a free health and medicines management app. Features have been developed to support people with IBD, including a dose tracker to manage complex dosing or stepping up or stepping down of medicines. The MedicineWise app can:

  • keep track of your medicines and remind you when your medicine doses and appointments are due
  • store your information such as your health conditions and allergies
  • allow you to share your health information with your health professionals and people who may be caring for you
  • provide you with trusted, relevant and up-to-date information relating to your medicines and your health conditions
Find out more

Practical support for newly diagnosed patients

TARGETED THERAPIES ALLIANCE

Helping consumers and health professionals make safe and wise therapeutic decisions about biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) and other specialised medicines. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health through the Value in Prescribing bDMARDs Program Grant.

The consortium also works closely with the key gastroenterology organisations, Gastroenterological Society of Australia and Crohn’s & Colitis Australia.