Advances in drug therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) [Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)] have contributed to a decrease in the severity of these chronic and disabling conditions.
What are the milestones of the changes in the expert approach to the pharmacological management of IBD in the past century?
To determine the changes in the experts' approach to the management of regional ileitis and UC, as presented in a widely used textbook in the United States.
The chapters presenting the management of IBD in the 26 editions of Cecil Textbook of Medicine published from 1927 through 2020.
No specific interventions existed from 1927 through 1942. The pharmacological management of IBD has had 3 slightly overlapping eras starting in 1943. During the first period (1943–1951), the medical management relied on antibiotics, primarily sulfonamides and chloramphenicol. In the second (1955–75), experts recommended the use of adrenocorticotropic hormone or corticosteroids and 5-aminosalicylate. In the third era, which commenced in 1979 and is continuing to date, the pharmacological interventions have been expanded and refined to include 5 main drug classes, 5-aminosalicylates (sulfasalazine, mesalamine, and olsalazine), corticosteroids (prednisone and budesonide), immunomodulators (azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, cyclosporine, and tofacitinib), biologics (infliximab adalimumab certolizumab pegol, and natalizumab), and antibiotics (metronidazole and ciprofloxacin). A consensus exists that the monoclonal antibodies again tumor necrosis factor alpha are cost-effective for induction and maintenance of clinical remission in both UC (golimumab) and Crohn disease (certolizumab pegol). The newer agents ustekinumab (a monoclonal antibody to the interleukin p40 subunit) and vedolizumab (a monoclonal antibody to the homing receptor integrin complex) have also performed well.
The pharmacological management of IBD has been the focus of intense research and development in the past 60 years. The pillars of drug treatment have been 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Recent pharmacological innovations (immunomodulators and biologicals) constitute an encouraging paradigm shift in the treatment of UC and Crohn disease.