Remicade Cuts Need for Colon Surgery
First Drug to Reduce Chance That People With Ulcerative Colitis Will Need Colon Removed
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 16, 2007 (Philadelphia) -- For the first time, a drug has been shown to
cut the chance that a person with ulcerative colitis will need to have their
In a study of 630 people with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis, the
drug Remicade, originally approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis, significantly
reduced the number of people that needed colon removal surgery.
The study was presented here at the annual meeting of the American College
“This is huge. Losing their colon is something most people would like to
avoid,” Phillip Jaffee, MD, of the Gastroenterology Center of Connecticut in
Hamden, tells WebMD. “No drug has ever been shown to do this before.” Jaffee, a
member of the committee that chose which stories to highlight at the meeting,
was not involved with the research.
Marked by bloody diarrhea and rectal bleeding, ulcerative colitis affects
about half a million people in the U.S., according to researcher William
Sanburn, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in
Since it is an inflammatory bowel disease, anti-inflammatory medications are
the first drugs of choice, but about half of sufferers don’t respond, he says.
That’s where steroids, immunosuppression agents and Remicade, approved in 2005
for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, come in.
Still, about half of these people do not get relief, continuing to suffer
from flare-ups that are difficult to manage, he says. They’re referred to
surgery to have the colon removed.