Early therapy gives better outcomes for ulcerative colitis patients, says data  

Galapagos presented data at the United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW) virtual 2021 congress, which suggests patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) treated with early advanced therapy within the first 18 months post diagnosis showed less residual diarrhoea and required fewer follow-up tests than those who were treated with an advanced therapy later. 

Results were drawn from the Adelphi Inflammatory Bowel Disease Specific Programme point-in-time study where 228 physicians in five European countries provided data on 589 patients with UC, receiving both early (49.4%) and late (50.6%) advanced therapy.1 Early use of advanced treatment was defined as ≤1.5 years, with late use being defined as >1.5 years after diagnosis. The study aimed to compare demographics, clinical characteristics and healthcare resource utilisation (HCRU) of UC patients from January 2020 to February 2021.1 

Patients received a mixture of advanced therapies as follows: anti-tumour necrosis factor (n=422), anti-interleukin 12/23 (n=15), anti-integrin (n=131), Janus kinase inhibitor (n=21).1 

Physicians reported that 90.9% of patients initiated with advanced therapy early in their disease course (standard error 1.9) showed an improvement in the severity of their disease vs 83.5% of patients initiated with an advanced therapy late in their disease course (standard error 2.1), (p<0.05).1 Despite a similar proportion of patients being in remission in both groups, late versus early advanced therapy patients showed more residual diarrhoea and required more follow-up tests, suggesting early advanced therapy positively impacted disease severity.Overall, the results demonstrated a significantly greater improvement in disease severity and improved physician-reported outcomes in early vs late advanced therapy patients.1 

Dr Michael Smyth, Senior Medical Director, UK, Nordics and Alpine, Galapagos said: “This real-world data clearly makes the case for early intervention with advanced therapy when treating patients living with ulcerative colitis. At Galapagos we are committed to improving the lives of people living with debilitating diseases like UC and see this study as an important step forward in defining the best treatment pathway for these patients.” 

Dr Ian Beales, Consultant in Gastroenterology and General Medicine, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said: “A diagnosis of ulcerative colitis can be life-changing; it is vital we find the appropriate therapy to address clinical symptoms and patient important outcomes as quickly as possible. Real-world evidence is always particularly helpful in guiding treatment decisions and this study clearly shows the benefits to patients of receiving advanced therapy early in their treatment pathway.” 


  1. ArmuzziA, et al. Outcomes of early and late advanced therapy use in patients with ulcerative colitis: Findings from a European real-world study. UEG Week Virtual 2021, Poster P0412. 

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