Immunomodulator & biological therapies

Immunomodulator & biological therapies

Statement 1.12

Agreed protocols should be in place for pre-treatment tests, vaccinations, prescribing, administration and monitoring of immunomodulator and biological therapies.

Statement 1.13

Patients should be fully informed about the benefits and risks of, and the alternatives to, immunomodulator and biological therapies, including surgery.

Statement 1.14

Patients receiving immunomodulator and biological therapies should be offered vaccinations in accordance with clinical guidelines.

Why is it important?

Immunomodulators and biological therapies are important Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) treatment options. But they carry significant risks to patients if not managed and monitored appropriately.

There are a number of evidence-based, regularly updated clinical guidelines that can help clinicians manage these therapies. By ensuring that these inform any agreed protocols, we can ensure that patients benefit from the right pre-screening, prescribing and monitoring practices.

This isn’t happening for everyone right now. The 2016 Biologics Audit reported that only 60% of adults and 47% of paediatric patients received all pre-treatment screening tests. The IBD audit team at the Royal College of Physicians conducted telephone interviews to explore the reasons behind poor screening rates.

The primary reasons why clinical teams fall short of 100% pre-treatment screening are:

  • Services opting out of tests
  • Difficulties collecting tuberculosis (TB) tests
  • Not being able to get results quickly

Clinicians should audit all patients on biological therapies to ensure safe and appropriate use.

We’ve seen that patients who participate in their care and shared decision-making, have better clinical outcomes. That’s why it’s important to give patients information, which is appropriate to their age, understanding and language, that can help them have conversations about the pros and cons of different treatment options with gastroenterologist and surgeons. These conversations should also consider the patient’s own preferences and goals.

I was worried about the short- and long-term safety of infliximab, so I was very reassured to know the drug had undergone rigorous clinical trials. Five years on, it’s still allowing me to enjoy a normal quality of life.

Rebecca, 32 diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2007