In a recent study conducted by Barclay et al, an increased use of medications which act to alter the immune response (immunomodulators) was demonstrated. Out of 1421 patients with inflammatory bowel disease, the use of immunomodulators including azathioprine, 6 mercaptopurine and methotrexate was investigated. Oral 5-ASA treatments were used in 77% of ulcerative colitis patients. Use of these medications correlated with increasing disease extent. In conclusion, IM use was high in these patients, compared with previous studies. This was thought to be primarily due to changing clinical practice, rather than changes in disease severity. Response to Infliximab Therapy in Patients with Severe Ulcerative ColitisThe efficacy of Infliximab in outpatients with moderate – severe ulcerative colitis has been well demonstrated. Studies have been conducted in an attempt to further investigate the use of Infliximab as rescue therapy in a subset of severe hospitalised patients and also to try to reduce the numbers of people requiring surgery for removal of areas of bowel affected by ulcerative colitis. However, these studies only involved limited numbers of patients and were too small to identify patient factors which predict response. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic medical condition that can have significant effects on your quality of life and the way that you function. Although there is no cure, advances in medical treatments allow doctors to try and control the disease and remain on top of your symptoms. Multiple different treatments are available for treatment of ulcerative colitis, depending on the location and extent of disease. Combinations of 5-ASA agents and therapies that act on your immune system have been widely studied. Research findings regarding the causes and genetics surrounding ulcerative colitis help us understand the causes and associations related to the disease. Many patients will be able to live active and productive lifestyles, with regular medical treatment and close observation for disease progression and treatment complications. The next AGW meeting will be held in Brisbane, from 22 – 26th October, 2008.
Specialist to help ease wait times
September figures show priority-one gastroenterology patients waited an average 47 days to be seen at the outpatient clinic – 50 per cent longer than the recommended 30-day maximum – and category-two patients waited an average 16 weeks. But waiting times have improved since a year ago, when some children waited up to a year to be assessed because of an acute shortage of gastroenterologists. It prompted the State Government to launch an urgent recruitment drive for specialists. The hospital says progress has been made after finding a gastroenterologist to fill a vacant position but it will have to take on more staff. A spokeswoman said PMH expected waiting times to improve further with a new part-time gastroenterologist due to start this month. Another 0.5 full-time equivalent position was in the appointment process and PMH was optimistic about appointing someone early next year. The Australian Medical Association welcomed the recent addition of a specialist but said it was clear more were needed to keep up with demand in the highly specialised area. WA president Richard Choong said gastroenterology was historically a difficult specialty to staff, which led to long delays for patients to be assessed and treated. “The fact PMH has managed to find someone recently and is close to more appointments is good news and very encouraging,” he said. “This is an area of medicine that is very specific and there are many conditions that need to access its services, but it’s a classic example of where there just aren’t enough people to do the jobs required.” Dr Choong said as a result many children were waiting too long, often in pain and discomfort, to be diagnosed and treated. “What I really hope is that the hospital will be able to recruit the extra staff it needs so children can be seen even more quickly,” he said.