The ABC’s of Crohn’s & UC: “R” & “S”

January 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm 1 comment

I can’t believe we are almost at the end of the alphabet! There will be one or two more posts after this one and then my glossary of Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis will be completed. But before we get to that point, we have a few more letters to get through.

Tonight, we tackle R & S.

Remicade: Where do I even begin on this one? Remicade (infliximab) is a biologic used to treat Crohn’s Disease and UC. Remicade works by blocking the action of the protein tumor necrosis factor-alpha, or TNF-alpha. Patients with Crohn’s Disease and UC have excess amounts of TNF-alpha because their immune system becomes overactive and begins to produce excess amounts of it. The excess TNF-alpha causes your body to mistake healthy cells for foreign ones and attacks them, causing inflammation. By blocking the actions of TNF-alpha, Remicade inhibits the underlying causes of inflammation.

Remicade is given through an IV drip over several hours. Patients who are on it only receive treatment once every few weeks- Dan currently goes once every six weeks. In between infusions, Dan is on no medication but others might still have to take other medicines. There are a lot side effects associated with Remicade, including headache, joint pain, fatigue, and pain/swelling at injection site.

Remicade is extremely expensive if you don’t have health insurance (we’re talking like $10,000 per infusion). Luckily, they have a program called Remistart to help pay for the out of pocket cost of the medicine. They are great to work with if your insurance either doesn’t cover it or only covers some of the cost.

Remission: The ultimate goal of any IBDer. Remission is defined as “a disease-free or limited-disease state.” During your battle with IBD, there will be times when your symptoms decrease or disappear entirely. Remission ranges from person to person and can last for days or years. Regardless of how long it lasts, the ultimate goal of IBD treatment is to induce remission.

Resection: A bowel resection is a surgical procedure that removes a part of the small or large intestines. It is a common procedure performed on IBD patients.

Rheumatrex: This drug is sometimes used to treat Crohn’s Disease in patients who don’t respond well to other medications. According to the Mayo Clinic, Rheumatrex (methotrexate) can cause “nausea, fatigue and diarrhea, and rarely, it can cause potentially life-threatening pneumonia. Long-term use can lead to scarring of the liver and sometimes to cancer. Avoid becoming pregnant while taking methotrexate.”

Sandimmune: Also known as cyclosporine, Sandimmune is an extremely potent drug that is used to help heal Crohn’s-related fistulas and in UC patients who don’t respond well to other medicines or are facing surgery. Sandimmune begins working in one to two weeks. However, it can have very serious side effects including kidney and liver damage, seizures, and fatal infections. This medication isn’t for long-term use.

SBFT/SBS: Stands for small bowel follow-through/small bowel series. It is an imaging test of the small intestine in which you drink barium prep and then have x-rays taken.

Sigmoidoscopy: An exam used to examine the lower part of the large intestine. There are two types of sigmoidoscopies: flexible and rigid. According to the Mayo Clinic,

“During a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam, a thin, flexible tube (sigmoidoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the rectum and most of the sigmoid colon — about the last two feet (61 centimeters) of the large intestine. If necessary, tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken through the scope during a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam.”

A rigid sigmoidoscopy uses a rigid tube and is rarely used because of the improved technology of its flexible sister.

Small bowel enteroclysis: An x-ray of the small bowel with barium contrast.

Serology: The clinical term for a blood test that detects the presence of antibodies against a microorganism.

Small Intestine: The part of the GI tract that follows the stomach and is followed by the large intestine. It is where a lot of the digestion and absorption of food takes place. It is also where Crohn’s Disease commonly presents. The small intestine is divided into three parts: duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.

Stoma: According to Ostomy Lifestyle,

A stoma is an opening from either the digestive system digestive system or urinary system . This opening is the exit point for faeces or urine and is formed, surgically, to treat serious, often life threatening, diseases and medical conditions such as bowel or bladder cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease), diverticulitis, congenital abnormalities or injury.

Stool Sample: Patients with IBD may have a stool sample taken as part of diagnosis. The presence of white blood cells in your stool indicates an inflammatory disease. Stool samples can also help rule out other disorders and allow your doctor to check for a bowel infection.

Strictureplasty: A common procedure to treat IBD, a strictureplasty opens up a narrowed section of bowel where a stricture has formed. Unlike a resection, no bowel is removed during a strictureplasty. The procedure can be done alone or paired with a resection.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Levi  |  January 10, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Great lesson today. Thanks for sharing!


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