Cramps, fever, diarrhea and the irrepressible urge to go to the bathroom: the symptoms of a ulcerative colitis, chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects 100-150 thousand people in Italy, they can make the life of the sufferer almost impossible. Up to now, anti-inflammatories or immunosuppressants have been available to treat it, with a considerable load of possible side effects, or monoclonal antibodies that require frequent infusions and sometimes, over time, lose their effectiveness. Approval for use in ulcerative colitis of tofacitinib, a JAK inhibitor, so good news: there is an extra weapon for the sick, which can also improve the quality of life and adherence to therapy.
Facilitating treatment as much as possible is not a secondary objective for an unfortunately chronic disease, which one has to deal with throughout life. Ulcerative colitis has a course with phases of activity and quiescence, in which the person may appear healthy but not – he observes Salvatore Leone, general director of the National Association for Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (AMICI Onlus) -. It also has a strong social impact: in fact, it gives symptoms that are heavy and difficult to describe, which compromise the quality of life in relationships and at work.. It often occurs for the first time between the ages of twenty and thirty, in the prime of active life, and then requires constant treatment to control relapses. Inflammation must be kept under control, because in the case of particularly severe attacks it may become necessary colectomy, surgery to remove the most damaged part of the colon (the risk is 5-20 percent).
The good news is that there is one more option for treatment today: it has also been approved for ulcerative colitis tofacitinib, a drug already used in our country for two other inflammatory diseases on an autoimmune basis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. We already know it, therefore, and how it explains Alessandro Armuzzi, professor of gastroenterology at the Catholic University of Rome, an inhibitor of Janus kinases involved in the cascade of the inflammatory process. Approved for patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, it has rapid action and effective in reducing intestinal mucosal lesions, regardless of whether the patient has already been treated with biologics; it also allows you to maintain remission for a long time (monoclonal antibodies sometimes stop working because antibodies are formed against them, ed). Mostly, it is taken by mouth in the morning and in the evening: having to take a tablet helps patients a lot to feel less so, guaranteeing them a better quality of life.
March 4, 2021 (change March 4, 2021 | 19:14)