Healthwatch

Inflammatory bowel disease

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IBD is a serious digestive disorder that causes nasty symptoms. For young children, it can be painful, scary and just plain embarrassing; having to go to the bathroom all of the time. But a medication being used to fight this disorder shows great promise for kids who just want to feel better. 

At first glance, Gabriella looks like a happy, healthy child, teaching her sister math, taking care of the family pets, but she has had inflammatory bowel disease since the age of four.

Lisa Didio, Gabriella's mother says, "She, by that point, was very sick. She had really bad diarrhea, loose stools, when she would go, the toilet was filled with blood."

Lisa began searching for a treatment and doctors who could help her daughter.

Dr. Andrew B. Grossman, pediatric gastroenterologist, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says, "This is a very complicated disease where everyone is different than everybody else. You have to have a genetic predisposition and with some environmental trigger, which we usually cannot figure out on an individual basis."

IBD causes inflammation which then causes ulcers. Doctors at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia have begun using the drug remicade to treat some patients.

Dr. Grossman says, "It was discovered that treatment with this medication which was not initially for crohns disease or ulcerative colitis, resulted in improvement, but unfortunately there was not a 100 percent response rate to this medication."

Lisa is so relieved that remicade has made a remarkable difference in her daughter, who is now nine years old.

Lisa says, "She's a normal kid again. I mean, she's able to be a child and play. And, she does sports now, and she is back to dancing"

Pediatric alternatives to remicade include a special diet administered through a feeding tube; and immunomodulators, which reduce the autoimmune response leading to inflammation. 

Dr. Grossman says each child responds differently to treatment forms, so be sure to check with your doctor.
 


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