Relevant BNF sections: 1.5, 8.1.3, 8.2.1
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are chronic relapsing inflammatory disorders of the bowel that affect 2-4 per 1,000 people in Northern Europe.1 The course of these diseases is difficult to predict and relapses can occur many years after presentation. Various drugs (and/or surgery in Crohn's disease) are used to induce remission, and maintenance drug therapy is commonly given to prevent relapse once remission is achieved. Here, we consider maintenance drug treatment, in particular the size and duration of benefit and potential short-term and long-term risks associated with such therapy.
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