Understanding the needs of people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
October 08, 2020     

It is estimated that more than 12 million people worldwide live with one of the two most common inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) – ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease.1 IBD is an immune-mediated disease in which the delicate balance of the gut is disrupted, leading to swelling or inflammation of the intestines. This inflammation often results in permanent damage, and impacts everyday life during flare-ups.2,4

The Impact of living with inflammatory bowel disease 

People living with UC and Crohn’s disease must deal with both the physical and emotional toll of their disease, which can include: 

  • pain, fatigue and discomfort5,6 
  • stress and anxiety tied to the uncertain nature of IBD, including the timing of flares or ability to locate a restroom 4,7 
  • interference with work6
  • perceived stigma surrounding bowel-related symptoms 
  • social isolation 
  • poor body image 

Unfortunately, for some patients, current medications are unable to control their inflammation, leaving them with no option but to have a large section of their intestine removed surgically.4,8

Current options for patients leave many struggling to control their condition

For people living with UC and Crohn’s disease, responding to therapy and achieving remission are critical treatment goals. Response to treatment, which is measured by symptom relief, and clinical remission, which is usually defined as very limited clinical disease activity, typically accompanies a reduction in the inflammation of the gut. Current therapies include anti-inflammatories to manage mild symptoms, and for more severe disease, therapies may include steroids, small molecules, immunomodulators or biologics in the form of injectables.

While these therapies prove effective for some people, many living with IBD do not obtain lasting relief. Patients often experience high relapse rates with some only having short-term symptom relief, leaving them struggling to control their condition.9,4 Many patients are unable to achieve optimal disease control and some have no response to treatment at all.2,15  

Bristol Myers Squibb is focused on advancing care for patients

At Bristol Myers Squibb, we are committed to developing transformational therapies that meet the needs of patients living with IBD. Our researchers follow the science to pursue novel targets and innovative approaches that may lead to new therapeutic options as well as disease prevention strategies. As we conduct clinical trials, we have an opportunity to deepen our understanding of IBD and analyze critical data that may offer new insights that advance research and, ultimately, care for patients. 

As part of our efforts, we developed and fielded the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Global Assessment of Patients and Physician Unmet Needs Survey (IBD GAPPS) in 2019 to better understand the impact of the evolving IBD treatment landscape on the needs of patients with both UC and Crohn’s disease, as well as their doctors. Through talking with more than 2,300 patients and more than 650 gastroenterologists around the world, we gathered critical insights into patient and prescriber perceptions of unmet needs, aiming to help the IBD community take an important step forward in treating IBD.16 

With our focus on transforming care for patients, we are continuing to work towards developing therapies that will lead to lasting remission for those living with immune-mediated diseases. 

References :

  1. Datamonitor Healthcare. Ulcerative Colitis​ Pharma Intelligence Disease Analysis​. Available from May 2020.
  2. Lee, S., Kwon, J., et al. Immunological pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Intest Res. 2018;16(1):26-42.
  3. Degagne, E. and Saba, JD. S1pping fire: Sphingosine-1-phosphate signaling as an emerging target in inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-associated cancer. Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2014;7:205-14.
  4. "Living with Crohn's Disease." Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. Accessed October 17, 2019.
  5. Pihl-Lesnovska, K., Hjortswang, H., Ek, A., & Frisman, G. (2010). Patients’ Perspective of Factors Influencing Quality of Life While Living With Crohn Disease. Gastroenterology Nursing, 3(1), 37-44.
  6. McMullan C, Pinkney TD, Jones LL, et al. Adapting to ulcerative colitis to try to live a ‘normal’ life: a qualitative study of patients’ experiences in the Midlands region of England. BMJ Open 2017;7:e017544. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017544
  7. Jess T et al. Risk of colorectal cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis: a meta-analysis of population-based cohort studies. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jun;10(6):639-45. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2012.01.010.
  8. Targownik, L. E., Singh, H., Nugent, Z. & Bernstein, C. N. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 107, 1228–1235 (2012).
  9. Kornbluth, A., et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010;105:501-23.
  10. Siegel, CA., et al. Poster presented at ACG. 2017:P1304
  11. Wang, Y., et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;5:CD000544.
  12. Bresci, G., et al. Colorectal Dis. 2008;10:814-7.
  13. Khan, NH., et al. Dig Dis Sci. 2013;58:2963-9.
  14. Faubion, WA., et al. Gastroenterology. 2001;121:255-60.
  15. American Gastroenterology Association. Ulcerative Colitis Clinical Care Pathway. 2015.

Subscribe to Our stories alerts

Beyond just relevant information about Bristol Myers Squibb's therapeutic areas and innovation, Our stories offer a window into the work our employees do every day for patients.

About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. As global citizens, we work sustainably and responsibly to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.