Treatments Based on the Severity of Your UC

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In assessing a patient and trying to help them make an informed decision on what the best treatment options are, there is no one-size-fits-all all formula, unfortunately. We have to look at a variety of factors. But there is a general consensus on how we divide the patients in terms of risk factors and where we may start with our therapies.

So we start with, "Does this patient have mild disease?" That's going to be minimal disease activity that we think we can easily control, and not having high-risk factors. So when we're choosing a therapy, we're going to choose certain therapies for mild disease. Those therapies are going to be topical anti-inflammatories, and they can take them by mouth, and/or oral steroid therapy. And those therapies, we tend to not want to give systemic steroid therapies, but there are other formulations of steroid-like therapies that we can give in a mild patient.

And then there is moderate to severe disease. This patient is being affected in their daily lives by this ulcerative colitis diagnosis and some of the symptoms, and they are at higher risk of complications from the disease. We want to make sure that we get on top of their disease immediately to prevent any untoward outcomes. In those cases, we're going to start talking about medications that are going to help to regulate the immune system a little bit more aggressively.

And there are several medications that are going to fall into those categories. There are immunomodulator therapies, where we're trying to control the overactive immune system, or the imbalance in the immune system. There's going to be biological therapies, which are drugs that are working systemically on certain receptors that are driving the inflammation. And then there are a new class of therapies, which are called small molecules.

And these small molecules are very specific, targeted therapies that are working on the colon and rectum, specifically reducing inflammation. Our goal is to have the patient have a normal everyday life, have a good quality of life, and we want to make sure that they don't end up with hospitalizations and surgeries.