Scientific corner

Apheresis in inflammatory bowel disease. a valid option?

José Luis Cabriada 1 , Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jan;35(1):22-31.

Leukocyte apheresis works by purifying distinct populations of active leukocytes and by modifying inflammatory mediators. Based on their theoretical immunomodulatory effect, these techniques have begun to be used in inflammatory bowel disease. There are two types of devices: granulocytapheresis, which performs selective granulocyte and monocyte absorption, and leukocytapheresis, which carries out non-selective filtration. Conventional treatment regimens consist of between 5 and 10 sessions, normally one session per week, to induce remission. Although the indications for apheresis have not been clearly defined, this technique can be considered a valid option in selected patients with ulcerative colitis, mainly those with corticosteroid-dependent or corticosteroid-refractory disease when other, better-established immunosuppressive or biological treatments have failed. In addition to avoiding the use of corticosteroids, due to its excellent safety profile, apheresis is an attractive option to avoid the risks of immunosuppressive and biological treatments and for use in the pediatric population. The present reviews analyzes the data on the safety and efficacy of apheresis in those patients with inflammatory bowel diseases who could benefit from this technique.

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