Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
What research is being done regarding ulcerative colitis?
Active research is also ongoing to find other biological agents that are potentially more effective with fewer side effects in treating ulcerative colitis including adalimumab, visilizumab, and alpha-4 integrin blockers.
Research in ulcerative colitis is very active, and many questions remain to be answered. The cause, mechanism of inflammation, and optimal treatments have yet to be defined. Researchers have recently identified genetic differences among patients which may allow them to select certain subgroups of patients with ulcerative colitis who may respond differently to medications. Newer and safer medications are being developed. Improvements in surgical procedures to make them safer and more effective continue to emerge.
It is recommended that adults with inflammatory bowel disease generally follow the same vaccination schedules as the general population.
Adults should receive a 1 time dose of Tdap, then Td booster every 10 years.
Women between the ages of 9 and 26 should receive 3 doses of HPV vaccine (and consideration should be given to older patients who are HPV negative on Pap smear).
Men in the same age range should also consider being vaccinated given the increased risk of HPV with immunosuppression.
Influenza (flu) vaccine should be given annually to all patients (though the live intranasal vaccine is contraindicated in patients on immunosuppressive therapy).
One dose of pneumococcal vaccine should be given between age 19-26 and then revaccination after 5 years.
Meningococcal vaccine is only recommended for patients with anatomic or functional asplenia, terminal complement deficiencies, or others at higher risk (college students, military recruits, etc).
MMR, varicella, and zoster vaccines (shingles vaccine) are contraindicated for patients on biologic therapy, as they are all live vaccines.
Osteoporosis has also increasingly been recognized as a significant health problem in patients with IBD. IBD patients tend to have markedly reduced bone mineral densities. Screening with a bone density study is recommended in:
men > age 50,
patients with prolonged steroid use (>3 consecutive months or recurrent courses),
patients with a personal history of low-trauma fractures, and
patients with hypogonadism.
For this reason, most patients with IBD should be on calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
Medically reviewed by Donald Lee, DO; Board Certified Family Practice
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