Researchers compared insurance claims from more than 13,000 patients with CD and UC who took anti-TNF drugs or used steroids over the long term. The researchers report in January 2018 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology that the risk of death over the course of the study was significantly lower for anti-TNF therapy among patients with CD, but not for patients with UC. Among patients with CD, anti-TNF therapy also produced lower rates of serious heart problems and hip fracture.
For patients with UC, the study didn’t find a difference between the two treatments in the risks of death, heart problems, or broken hips. Patients taking anti-TNF drugs had more emergency surgeries and hospital visits for health problems related to UC than patients taking long-term steroids did.
This study provides new data to help clinicians and patients understand the pros and cons of the two common treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases.