Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease that has the potential to recur and/or produce severe complications within the gastrointestinal tract. Long-term management of this condition often involves any number of medications and alternative therapies that help to relieve painful or discomforting symptoms.
The IBD Center of Excellence offers a team of renowned gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons specializing in the comprehensive management of inflammatory bowel disease. Patients treated at our state-of-the-art outpatient center in Beverly Hills receive highly individualized care with exceptional outcomes. To learn more about medications and alternative therapies for IBD, or to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, contact us at (888) 421-4172.
Medications for IBD
Medications are often the first line of treatment and may be very effective at improving quality of life for individuals with IBD. The goal of prescription medication for IBD is to relieve inflammation that causes a variety of discomforting symptoms, to reduce the frequency of flare-ups, and to help prevent more serious complications. The five classes of drugs that are used to treat inflammatory bowel disease are:
- Aminosalicylates – reduce mild inflammatory reactions in patients with both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Antibiotics – (Metronidazole, Ciprofloxacin, Rifaximin) typically more effective against Crohn’s disease
- Corticosteroids – (Hydrocortisone, Prednisolone) used for treatment of acute inflammatory attack, but may cause complications with prolonged use
- Immunosuppressants – (Azathioprine, 6-MP, Methotrexate) useful as steroid-sparing medications and may be utilized to treat some complications of IBD
- Biologic therapy – (Inflixamab, Natalizumab) target specific compounds in the body that are known to contribute to IBD symptoms, more effective for Crohn’s disease, although they are are also used for ulcerative colitis in some settings
Our gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons have extensive clinical experience incorporating IBD medications into effective treatment plans. We work with each patient to develop a medication schedule tailored to the type and severity of his or her symptoms.
Alternative Therapies for IBD
Alternative treatments for IBD aim to control symptoms and ease pain, enhance quality of life, and help boost the immune system. These therapies are most effective when used in combination with conventional treatment for IBD as directed by a gastrointestinal or colorectal specialist.
While many alternative treatments have been attempted, few have been proven successful during clinical studies. The most common alternative therapies that may help relieve mild symptoms of IBD include:
- Probiotics – The addition of beneficial bacteria that are normally found in the digestive tract might help combat inflammation and destruction of the intestinal lining.
- Fish oil – Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which act as mild anti-inflammatories.
- Tumeric – Contains curcumin, a compound that has been combined with conventional IBD therapies, such as corticosteroids. Several clinical trials have shown moderate improvement of symptoms compared with conventional drugs alone.
- Acupuncture – The procedure involves the insertion of tiny needles into the skin and is thought to stimulate the release of natural painkillers.
Few clinical studies have confirmed the long-term effectiveness of the above alternative treatments. Moreover, some alternative therapies, such as dietary supplements, may cause adverse reactions with prescription medication. Therefore, it is important for patients to discuss these options with an expert gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon before attempting alternative IBD treatment.
Contact an IBD Specialist in Beverly Hills
The IBD Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills offers a team of world-renowned gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons who have trained at some of the top medical schools and residencies in the country. Our extensive experience in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, coupled with a highly individualized approach, helps us to deliver compassionate and effective care to each patient. For more information on conservative treatments for IBD or to schedule a consultation with an IBD specialist, please call (888) 421-4172 or fill out our contact form.
Next, read frequently asked questions about IBD.