Optimizing pharmacologic management of inflammatory bowel disease

Shannon Chang, Stephen Hanauer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: As our medical armamentarium for IBD continues to expand, it is essential that clinicians understand both optimizing and sequencing of individual and combination therapeutic approaches with available medications. Areas covered: This review summarizes dosing strategies and therapeutic drug monitoring for pharmacologic optimization in IBD. Aminosalicylates remain first-line therapies for mild-to-moderate UC but have limited evidence of efficacy in CD. Budesonide provides an alternative to aminosalicylates when targeted to appropriate sites in the distal small bowel and colon, as do conventional corticosteroids when applied rectally. Systemic steroids are highly efficacious but burdened by toxicity. Thiopurines or methotrexate can be utilized as steroid-sparing agents. Biologic agents targeting TNF remain important for steroid-sparing therapy in moderate-to-severe UC and CD. Newer biologics targeting lymphocyte trafficking and lymphocyte activation are also efficacious for moderate-to-severe IBD. Near future conventional drug options include oral agents such as tofacitinib and mongersen. Expert commentary: Positioning therapies according to the location, phenotypes, and severity, as well as the use of therapeutic and clinical targets, will improve outcomes and minimize toxicities and therapeutic futilities. Future IBD treatment should focus on personalized therapy plans based on genetic determinants, targeted mechanisms of action, and pharmacologic optimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-607
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2017


  • Aminosalicylates
  • adalimumab
  • certolizumab
  • corticosteroids
  • cyclosporine
  • dose optimization
  • golimumab
  • infliximab
  • methotrexate
  • mongersen
  • natalizumab
  • therapeutic drug monitoring
  • thiopurines
  • tofacitinib
  • ustekinumab
  • vedolizumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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