New drug Vedolizumab works better for Ulcerative Colitis patients


vedolizumabEvery disease leaves some sort of impressions, sometime a drug suits a person while at times the same drug does not suit another person. This remains a mystery. That could be the reason why medical researchers are always on their toes to come out with a breakthrough. Recently, a drug named Vedolizumab, came to the fore-front, when it claimed that it may help in the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). The speciality of Vedolizumab has been that it may help those patients who possibly not get any assistance from current medications administered for UC or CD.

Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease occur when the immune system abruptly launches an abnormal attack on the lining of the digestive tract. When this occurs patients face symptoms like diarrhea, cramps and rectal bleeding. In the new trials researchers came to know that Vedolizumab was able to work in most cases where standard IBD medications failed to work.

This drug has also been touted to be more effective on colitis than Crohn’s disease. Researchers have been sure that this drug will be approved for colitis first. As Dr. Fabio Cominelli, Chief of Gastroenterology and liver disease at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, said that overall results seems to be very exciting and this drug seems to be a potential new weapon in our armamentarium.

This study included more than 2000 patients who had either colitis or Crohn’s who were unable to get any relief from standard medications. These patients were earlier taking corticosteroids, azathioprine (Imuran) and mercaptopurine (Purinethol).

Almost half of the patients had also tried recently developed drug known as anti-TNF agents. In one of the trials around 900 colitis patients were provided infusions of either Vedolizumab or a placebo. After six weeks, 47 percent of the Vedolizumab patients got a clinical response. Dr. Brian Feagan, director of clinical trials at the Roberts Research Institute in London, Ontario said that these results with Ulcerative Colitis were really striking. But the researchers said it was unclear as to why the drug worked better for colitis than Crohn’s.

But researchers said one possibility could be that Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive tract and can be acclaimed as a more extensive disease. Patients with colitis also fared better as far as side effects were concerned. The side effects like nausea, headaches, fatigue and respiratory infections were not as much as compared with Crohn’s disease.

The Japanese drug manufacturers, Takeda Pharmaceuticals who funded the trials has already submitted Vedolizumab for approval in the United States and Europe. The results of the trials have been published in the August 22, 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

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