Elderly IBD patients treated with fewer medicines — 4 insights

A study, published in Gastroenterology, examined the incidence rate and treatment of 60-year-old and older patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Asa Everhob, MD, PhD, of Stockholm, Sweden-based Karolinska Institutet, and colleagues conducted a nationwide population-based study of IBD cases from 2006 through 2013. Researchers collected several types of data to determine IBD onset.

Here's what they found:

1. Of 27,834 patients with IBD, 6,443 had their first diagnosis at 60 years or older. That corresponds to an incidence rate of 35/100,000 person years.

2. During a median follow-up of 4.2 years, elderly patients had less IBD-specific preventive care but more IBD-related hospitalizations.

3. Physicians gave elderly patients fewer biologics or immunomodulators but more systemic corticosteroids.

4. Bowel surgery was more common in elderly patients than adult 18-year-old to 59-year-old patients. Risk increase was larger for younger age groups.

Researchers concluded, "In a nationwide cohort study in Sweden, we associated diagnosis of IBD at age 60 years or older with a lower use of biologics and immunomodulators but higher absolute risk of bowel surgery, compared to diagnosis at a younger age. The large differences in pharmacological treatment of adults and elderly patients are not necessarily due to a milder course of disease and warrant further investigation."

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