What Drugs Are Being Developed To Treat Crohn's Disease And Ulcerative Colitis?c

In recent years, the medical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)has gotten more attention from pharmaceutical companies and researchers. The future for people with IBD is brighter than ever, as more drugs are in the pipeline to treat these debilitating diseases and their associated complications.


Alicaforsen is currently under license by Atlantic Pharmaceuticals Limited. The drug is administered by enema and is being tested for use in ulcerative colitis and pouchitis. Alicaforsen has been granted orphan drug statusin the United States and the European Union.


Enzo Biochem has completed a study of Alequel in patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. The drug is a personalized treatment of a protein-containing extract that is created from tissue from the patient’s colonand administered orally. Remission was achieved by 50 percent of patients on the drug, versus 33 percent with a placebo. The drug was well tolerated, with no adverse effects.

EUR-1073 (Beclomethasone Dipropionate)

Beclomethasone dipropionate is a timed-release corticosteroid that is approved for us in United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Belgium to treat ulcerative colitis (under the name Clipper). It is currently in the later stages of study for approval in the United States. The formulation of this corticosteroid allows for it to be released in the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract, which is where it can be most effective in treating ulcerative colitis. The time-release is also associated with fewer side effects than the oral corticosteroids that are now typically used to treat IBD. EUR-1073 has been designated as an orphan drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its use in pediatric patients.


This new compound is being studied for use in both IBD and short bowel syndrome (SBS). SBS is a condition that causes diarrhea, cramping, bloating, and heartburn that occurs in people who have had half (or more) of their small intestine removed. The most common cause of SBS is repeated resection surgeriesused to treat Crohn’s disease.

Side effects of teduglutide appear to be minimal, as the effects occur mainly in the intestinal tract. People with SBS who participated in a trial of teduglutide showed both increased nutrient intake and body weight. Commonly reported adverse effects included abdominal pain, headache, stoma changes, and swelling.

NPS Pharmaceuticals, the developer of teduglutide, completed a proof-of-concept study in patients with Crohn's disease. Of the patients with Crohn's, 55 percent had achieved remission after 8 weeks of using the drug, compared to 33 percent of the patients receiving a placebo. The most reported adverse effect was redness at the location of the injection. Another study is being conducted on patients with SBS.

Teduglutide has been granted orphan drug status in both the United States and Europe for its use in SBS. NPS is currently looking for a development partner to continue testing the drug for use in Crohn’s disease.

Traficet-EN (CCX282)

Traficet-EN is an anti-inflammatory small molecule therapeutic which is currently being tested for use in Crohn's disease by it's manufacturer, ChemoCentryx. In the latest trial (PROTECT-1), a greater percentage of patients receiving the drug achieved remission after 36 weeks than those that received the placebo. The drug was well tolerated among the study participants over the course of the 12 month trial.


This drug is a pro-inflammatory response inhibitor that is being researched by Invio Pharmaceuticals for use in treating IBD as well as other inflammatory conditions. The drug is still in the very early stages of study, and has so far only been tested on healthy volunteers.

By , About.com Guide

Updated February 26, 2012

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