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Pharmacologic Treatment

As IBD cannot be cured by medications, the focuses of pharmacologic management are the induction and maintenance of remission.

Five classes of drugs (prescribed either on their own or in combination with one another) can be used to assist in achieving these goals:

Information that dictates choice and dose of medication is: disease severity (mild, moderate, and severe) and location within the GI tract.

Pharmacologic treatment: issues

Often patients have issues with adhering to their medical regime. The following is a list of some of the common barriers to non-adherence and some tips to overcome them.

Issue Tips


Health care card, The Medicare Safety Net provides families and individuals with financial assistance for high out-of-pocket costs for out-of-hospital Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) services.

Once you meet a Medicare Safety Net threshold, you may be eligible for additional Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital MBS services for the rest of the calendar year.

Please see http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/public/services/msn/index.jsp for more information.


Purchase a pill box to store meds.

Set aside a time to take pills and get into a habit of following this routine each day.

Concerns about an adverse drug event

Questions surrounding this should be raised with the doctor.

Negative beliefs (thinking medication is not needed, will not help, is not wanted or causes stigma)

These issues should be raised with the doctor.

It's important to realise that because IBD is a chronic condition, it is advisable to stay on medications even when feeling well.

Psychological impact of side effects (e.g., moonface)

These issues should be raised with the doctor.

Other Helpful Medications

Other medications that may be helpful in relieving the signs and symptoms of IBD include:

  • Anti-diarrheal drugs: Work by slowing down bowel movements. Examples of drugs include: Imodium, Lomotil, and codeine phosphate. Care with their use with colitis (see above)
  • Laxatives: There are different types, some work by stimulating the bowel muscles (stimulant laxatives), which in turns speeds up the process of waste elimination; others increase the amount of water that stays in your feces (osmotic laxatives); whereas bulk forming laxatives soften feces
  • Pain relievers (analgesics). In some circumstances, acute and chronic pain may be treated using pain medications (or analgesics). Three categories of pain medications are used to help management pain, these are: opioid (narcotic) analgesics, non-opioid analgesics, and adjunct analgesics.
  • For more detailed information about any medications you are taking, please go to the Australian Government National Prescription Service website: http://www.nps.org.au/


If you are interested in other gastrointestinal-focused information and intervention websites developed and hosted at
Swinburne University of Technology,
please go to:

IBSclinic.org.au for individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Gastroparesisclinic.org for individuals with Gastroparesis


This website and its content is not intended or recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

© 2014 Swinburne University of Technology | CRICOS number 00111D