Finding safe, effective treatments for inflammatory bowel disease

Targeted Therapies Alliance media release

New resources are now available to help people living with inflammatory bowel disease keep their condition under control.

The new resources, from the Targeted Therapies Alliance, also includes the story of Sarah, a woman living with Crohn’s disease who shares her experience of finding a medicine that works for her.

Crohn’s & Colitis Australia CEO Associate Professor Leanne Raven says inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is the term used to describe a group of conditions that cause chronic painful swelling, irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract.

“The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and these are becoming more common in Australia,” said A/Prof Raven.

“It’s important for people living with IBD to work closely with their health professional to find the most effective treatment for them,” she said.

Medicines play an important role in relieving the symptoms of IBD. Medicines help keep the condition under control by reducing inflammation and allowing the bowel to heal.

“Most people with IBD will need to take medicines regularly to help manage their condition. These medicines are usually needed over a long period but the types and doses may change to keep the symptoms well managed,” said A/Prof Raven.

Sarah was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 20.

“I had to weigh up the risks of the medication and the potential side effects,” said Sarah.

“The risks are sometimes worth it, and for me they were worth it because the inflammation in my gut was going to lead to bigger problems down the track anyway. One of the amazing outcomes of being on these medications, and being stable on these medications, is that I’ve been able to live my life. These medicines meant I could take a walk or go and see friends and not be worried about where the next bathroom was all the time,” she said.

A/Prof Raven hopes the new resources will help guide shared decision making between patients and health professionals and prompt good conversations about the benefits and risks of different treatment options.

The new resources include:

  • A patient action plan to help people learn about the benefits and risks of thiopurines for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis with their gastroenterologist
  • A decision aid to help people make decisions about how to use the medicines for ulcerative colitis and their benefits in collaboration with a gastroenterologist.
  • A patient action plan to help people discuss low-dose methotrexate for Crohn’s disease with their gastroenterologist.

Other resources to help people manage their treatments for inflammatory bowel disease include the NPS MedicineWise app, to keep track of medicines and remind you when medicine doses and appointments are due, and the Medicines list, a useful way to keep all the information about your medicines together.

The member organisations of the Targeted Therapies Alliance worked closely with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia and the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) to develop the new resources which were created with input from consumers with IBD and gastroenterologists.


About the Targeted Therapies Alliance

The Targeted Therapies Alliance is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health through the Value in Prescribing – Biological Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (bDMARDs) Program Grant, and led by NPS MedicineWise.

For more information on the Targeted Therapies Alliance, bDMARDs and other specialised medicines, visit the program website.


Media contact

Media enquiries: Stephanie Childs, NPS MedicineWise Communications & PR Manager: 0419 618 365 or [email protected]