Researchers investigated drug prescriptions, costs, and adverse reactions among inflammatory bowel disease patients in Sweden between 1988 and 1997. They reported their findings in April's issue of Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Drug use was calculated from the National Diagnosis and Therapy survey and drug costs from prescriptions and drug sales. Adverse drug reactions were obtained from the Medical Products Agency's National Pharmacovigilance system.
The annual drug exposure for Crohn's disease was found to be 0.55 million daily doses per million population, mainly supplementation and aminosalicylic acids.
61% of these patients were taking either mesalazine or olsalazine.
|Adverse drug reactions were mainly hematological reactions - agranulocytosis or pancytopenia|
|Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics|
For ulcerative colitis patients, drug exposure was 0.61 million daily doses per million per year, and aminosalicylic acids fell from 70% to 65% over the time period.
For inflammatory bowel disease patients, corticosteroids and nutritional supplementation were common.
The researchers found that the annual average cost for inflammatory bowel disease drugs was 7.0 million US dollars.
Annually, 32 adverse drug reactions were reported, mainly hematological reactions, such as agranulocytosis and pancytopenia (60%), followed by skin reactions. Only two deaths were reported. Aminosalicylic acids were the most commonly reported compounds to cause adverse reactions.
Dr. P. Blomqvist, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, said on behalf of the team, "Drug use for inflammatory bowel disease in the pre-biologic agent era rested on aminosalicylic acid drugs and corticosteroids with stable levels, proportions, and costs.
"The level of adverse drug reactions was low, but hematological reactions support the monitoring of inflammatory bowel disease patients."