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Stubborn Ulcerative Colitis Responds to Arthritis Drug

at rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, an intestinal disorder that is closely linked to colitis. Infliximab appears to tinker with a protein known as tumor necrosis factor alpha that contributes to inflammation.

“There are some theories that this drug works by inducing ‘apoptosis,’ which means programmed cell death,” Dryden said. “In other words, inflammatory cells, which are contributing to the disease state, will ‘die’ as a result of this medication.”

Both Higgins and Dryden praised the review. However, Higgins said a limitation was the small number of studies and Dryden said that the review didn’t offer a comparison with cyclosporine.

“Looking at the published studies, infliximab appears to be less effective than cyclosporine, but less toxic,” Higgins said. “However, the two agents have never been compared head to head, so it is difficult to know how they would compare in similar patients.”

What should patients think about this research? The review suggests that infliximab does benefit patients, Dryden said.

However, it’s not clear if the drug actually improves the lives of patients enough that they feel “back to their normal baseline,” Dryden said. “There is still room for improvement.



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