Treatment Options for Elderly Patients with IBD

Clinicians should carefully weigh the pros and cons of therapies for elderly patients with IBD
Clinicians should carefully weigh the pros and cons of therapies for elderly patients with IBD

Treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in elderly patients can be challenging given that current guidelines are based on studies conducted in the general population in which older individuals were not well represented or were completely excluded. Careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of therapies is essential when treating this population. That's according to a new review article published in the journal Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology.

The problem is exacerbated because no IBD diagnosis index has been validated in the elderly population, and these patients need tailored treatment strategies. Most studies which have investigated diagnostic tools such as fecal calprotectin and lactoferrin have not been specifically studied in the elderly, and for studies that have included elderly subjects, they were not stratified by age.

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In patients with IBD, food avoidance may be common practice and for elderly patients, who may already be malnourished, restricting diet may have devastating consequences. Therefore, the authors point out, it is important to obtain a dietary history before dietary changes are implemented. The most common micronutrient deficiency in patients with IBD is iron deficiency, but there is also the risk of other deficiencies, including Vitamin B deficiency in Crohn's patients, and Vitamin D deficiency. Elderly patients may also struggle to adhere to special diets due to financial constraints.

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