How effective are corticosteroids in treating inflammatory bowel disease?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

About 40% of people with IBD treated with a corticosteroid improve within 1 to 2 weeks. When the dosage is tapered and stopped, they stay in remission. About 20% of people don't improve with corticosteroid therapy. Other people on this drug get only partly improved, and some achieve remission but relapse when the corticosteroid is tapered. This is called steroid dependence. People with this problem are usually given a thiopurine or TNF inhibitor to maintain remission. 

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