Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that causes stomach tenderness and swelling, diarrhea, weight loss, and rectal bleeding. The disease can take a major toll on a sufferer's work, family, and social life. But effective treatments are available. Read Mike's story to find out how finding the right treatment can make all the difference.
Mike* is a 50-year-old electrical engineer and father of two. When he was 45 years old, he started having frequent bouts of diarrhea with abdominal pain, fever, and rectal bleeding. Several months later, Mike was diagnosed with Crohn's disease (CD), a type of IBD.
Mike tried a number of different medications for his Crohn's disease, including corticosteroids, thiopurine and methotrexate.. However, Mike's CD continued to flare up, and seemed to be getting worse. He suffered from frequent, painful attacks of diarrhea and stomach cramps. His symptoms got in the way of his social life and prevented him from spending as much time as he wanted with his children. He also had to scale back on his work schedule. Eventually, Mike began to feel like he was at the end of his rope.
Because conventional CD treatments were not working for Mike, Mike and his gastroenterologist discussed the treatment options available. His gastroenterologist mentioned adalimumab (Humira®), infliximab (Remicade®), and certolizumab (Cimzia®). After the discussion, Mike decided to try infliximab. This medication works by stopping the inflammation that damages the bowel in people with CD. Mike felt relieved that his gastroenterologist told him there will still be other options available even if he doesn't do well on infliximab.
Mike received his treatment at a special infusion clinic, where the medication was given into a vein in his arm (IV infusion). Mike enjoyed the convenience of the treatment, which was given over a few hours every two months. But most importantly, the treatment made Mike feel better than he had in years. It helped bring his CD symptoms back under control. Now Mike is able to enjoy his life and his family again, and has returned to work full-time. Plus, because the treatment is only given every two months, Mike is able to forget that he has CD.
What can we learn from Mike's story? IBD can take a major toll on your life, but it can be successfully treated. There are many treatment options for IBD, but you may need to try several options before you find one that works for you. If you're having trouble finding a treatment that works, don't give up! Talk to your gastroenterologist about whether other treatment options may be available.
*Mike's story is a hypothetical story based on the combined experiences of patients with IBD.
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