Purpose of review
Multiple new medications with novel mechanisms of action are now available to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Identifying the appropriate patients in whom to use these therapies is critical in maximizing benefit and reducing unnecessary risks. Once the appropriate therapy is selected, using a treat-to-target algorithm including symptomatic, biochemical, and endoscopic monitoring can improve clinical outcomes. If symptoms recur, these same principles, coupled with therapeutic drug monitoring, should be considered to confirm inflammation and determine next therapeutic steps.
Multiple network meta-analyses can assist clinicians in determining the ideal biologic or small molecule therapy for patients with moderate-to-severe IBD. Once selected, several clinical trials have demonstrated that follow-up in 3 to 4 months, coupled with fecal calprotectin or C-reactive protein monitoring, can improve clinical remission and mucosal healing rates. Structural assessment should be performed via colonoscopy, enterography, or capsule endoscopy, dependent on disease location, at 9--12 months to confirm healing.
Appropriate disease stratification, coupled with biologic or small molecule medication selection and treat-to-target follow-up, can greatly assist clinicians who are managing patients with IBD in achieving the greatest potential benefits of medical therapy.