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Drug May Help Colitis Patients Avoid Surgery

Infliximab linked to fewer colectomies in study patients

FRIDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with the drug infliximab (Remicade) reduced the need for surgery in ulcerative colitis patients by almost half, a new study found.

Ulcerative colitis causes chronic inflammation of the colon and often leads to surgical removal of the colon (colectomy).

This study included 728 patients who received either an inactive placebo or infliximab for 46 weeks. After one year of follow-up, the researchers found that "treatment with infliximab reduced the need for colectomy by 41 percent compared to patients treated with placebo," lead author and Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. William Sandborn, said in a Mayo Clinic news release.

The study appears in the October issue of the journal Gastroenterology.

"One of the most feared outcomes for ulcerative colitis patients is surgical removal of the colon. Our research hopes to provide other treatment solutions for patients beyond surgery," Sandborn said.

He provided consulting services for drug maker Centocor during this research. The Mayo Clinic was paid for Sandborn's services.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about ulcerative colitis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Sept. 30, 2009

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