IBD Basics: Azathioprine & Mercaptopurine – 6-MPs

What are 6-MPs? & Why are they important? Azathioprine and Mercaptopurine are members of the thiopurine family of medication, and they are used to treat both UC and Crohn’s disease; the most common types of IBD. Whilst they get used for both types of IBD, 6-MP’s are more widely used in UC, but only by a small margin. 1 in 5 patients who take Azathiopurine achieve remission and can be a good step stone to reducing or coming of steroids in the long term. They have been used since the 1960’s and have a good history of working well in most…

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IBD Basics: Aminosalicylates – 5ASAs

What are 5 ASA’s & Why are they important? Aminosalicylates – or 5ASAs – are a type of medication used to treat both Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis; but have been proven to be more effective in UC to independently induce and maintain remission in mild to moderate UC. They work by reducing the inflammation in the mucous lining of the bowel, which is better achieved in UC due to the location of the disease to just the colon. Whilst 5 ASA’s can be used in Crohn’s disease, they are only helpful in controlling mild inflammation and symptoms, and are often needed…

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IBD Basics: Corticosteriods

What are Corticosteroids & Why are they important? Corticosteriods are a group of anti inflammatory medications – including cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone – which mimic the hormones produced by the adrenal gland, which lies above the kidneys. The hormones created by the adrenal gland have many functions but one in particular is that is the ability to heal inflammation; particularly in the bowel. When prescribed in doses that exceed your body’s usual levels, corticosteroids suppress inflammation; helping the symptoms and side effects of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma. Why are they used to treat IBD? They are a first line…

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The What and Why: Vitamin D

What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is a nutrient needed to help control our absorption of calcium and phosphate entering our body from our diet. These particular minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin D is created from direct sunlight on our skin when we are outdoors. It is abundant in the months from April to October and found in some foods; such as oily fish, eggs, margarine, some red meat, mushrooms and fortified cereals. How do you know if you’re deficient? Most people in the UK are Vitamin D deficient due to the lack of sunlight,…

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The What and Why: Vitamin B12

Teeny tiny vials of energy It was when I was in the throes of being assessed for surgery, we discovered that removal of my terminal ileum – my first surgery; right hemicolectomy – would mean I would need Vitamin B12 injection following my recovery. What is Vitamin B12? It is an important vitamin needed in the body to help keep your nervous system healthy. It is what helps create new cells within your body, for not only growth and repair but for general maintenance. Whilst it is produced in the liver, it is absorbed in the small intestine. B12 is…

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