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June 20, 1990

New Approaches May Aid Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

JAMA. 1990;263(23):3121-3122. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440230007001

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THE URGENCY that afflicts patients with inflammatory bowel disease is being matched in the search for effective treatment.

"There is a lot of reason to be optimistic," though much of the hope stems from unconfirmed trials, says Stephen Hanauer, MD, codirector of the University of Chicago's outpatient gastrointestinal clinic.

Current treatments for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are as unsatisfactory as these two somewhat similar diseases are unpredictable. Sulfasalazine cannot be tolerated by one third of patients, and neither it nor steroids are proven to maintain remission.

But with the consensus that some immune malfunction is involved in the etiology of these diseases, several existing agents and one new class of drugs are being tried, according to reports at a Digestive Disease Week program in San Antonio, Tex. Among others, the following treatments were reported:

The sun may shine on 5-aminosalicylic acids (5-ASAs), effective now as enemas, with the report