Ulcerative colitis can be effectively treated with the help from a new oral drug, according to research. The drug consists of microparticles and natural herbal molecules that target the colon. So far, the drug is showing promise as an effective treatment for ulcerative colitis.
Didier Merlin, professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State, said, “Orally administered microparticles may offer an efficient drug delivery system because they are characterized by a high drug loading capacity and may target colitis tissues based on abnormalities.”
The drug consists of an emulsion-solvent evaporation method to fabricate pH-sensitive microparticles that are composed of a biocompatible polymer and loaded with curcumin.
Current treatment methods require intravenous therapy and are carried throughout the body instead of targeting the colon directly. As a result, this requires much higher dosages of the medication and may cause adverse side effects.
In recent years, more targeted therapies for ulcerative colitis have emerged, including inhibitors of inflammatory cytokines (anti-TNFα agents) that induce T-lymphocyte apoptosis, or cell death.
Ulcerative colitis treatment methods
Ulcerative colitis is mainly treated through drug therapies or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. There is a variety of ulcerative colitis medications to choose from including:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, like aminosalicyates and corticosteroids
- Immunosuppresive drugs, like Azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran), mercaptopurine (Purinethol, Purixam), Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), Infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira) and golimumab (Simponi), and Vedolizumab (Entyvio)
- Other medications, such as antibiotics, antidiarrheal medications, pain relievers, and iron supplements
Surgery entails removal of the entire colon and rectum. The procedure, known as ileoanal anastomosis, does not require the patient to wear a bag for stool collection. The surgeon constructs a pouch from the end of the small intestine and attaches it directly to the anus. Patients do require an external bag in cases where constructing such a pouch is impossible.
During ulcerative colitis treatment, your doctor will also monitor you for colon cancer, as the risk of colon cancer is higher in inflammatory bowel disease. This is done through routine colonoscopies. Cancer surveillance usually begins after 10 years of having ulcerative colitis.