Cytapheresis as a Non-Pharmacological Therapy for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Although inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), is a chronic recurrent disease with unknown etiology. Recent immunological studies suggest close relation to autoimmune status featured by antibodies against colonic epithelial cells. For patients with IBD, 5-aminosalycilates are often used in case of mild disease, and corticosteroids are standard therapy for moderate-to-severe disease. However, we often encounter patients who are resistant to or dependent of conventional therapy, which are likely to lead to future problems in quality of life due to adverse effects of drugs used, especially corticosteroids. Extracorporeal leukocyte removal therapy (cytapheresis) is one of the adjunctive therapies for IBD patients refractory to steroids. By removing circulating activated leukocytes, especially granulocytes and lymphocytes, impaired immune response is suppressed. In the present article recently published studies are reviewed in order to reflect the current state of the art in the use of cytapheresis for treating IBD, especially UC and CD. Although there are only few randomized controlled trials, clinical experience so far suggests that cytapheresis has superior efficiency than conventional therapies in steroid-resistant moderate-to-severe UC. Moreover, cytapheresis features its safety characteristic compared with other conventional medications for severe UC, cytapheresis is regarded as safe treatment regimen.
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