Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an intestinal disorder involving chronic inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract. The two types of IBD include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both types of IBD involve severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue, and weight loss.
Ulcerative colitis causes long lasting inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestines and rectum. Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation of the entire digestive tract, and the inflammation often spreads deep into the affected tissue.
Over one million Americans suffer from IBD. It is important to seek the advice of a medical professional when experiencing intestinal discomfort in order to rule out more serious conditions, such as colon cancer. Contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing rectal bleeding, weight loss, or abdominal pain that occurs at night.
Causes and Triggers of IBD
The exact cause of IBD is unknown, but doctors suspect immune system malfunction. There are a variety of risk factors that are associated with the disorder that include:
- Age – Most IBD sufferers are diagnosed before the age of 30. However, some don’t develop the disease until their 50’s or 60’s.
- Race or Ethnicity – Caucasians have the high rates of IBD, although rates for the Ashkenazi Jewish are even higher.
- Family History – Those with IBD are likely to have a relative – a parent, sibling, or child – with the disease.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications – Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, diclofenac sodium, and other can increase the risk of developing IBD or worsen symptoms in those who already have it.
- Where you live – Urban populations and industrialized nations are more likely to suffer from IBD. Diets high in fat and processed foods can play a role in the development of the disease.
- Isotretinoin – A drug used to treat severe acne, Isotretinoin, formerly known as Accutane, has been linked to the development of IBD.
Triggers for IBD
- Food – Many individuals with IBD have food intolerances. Certain types of foods cause IBD symptoms more so than others, including dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, high fat foods, spicy foods, and alcohol, to name a few.
- Stress – Those with IBD report an increase in their symptoms when put under periods of stress. Stress aggravates IBD symptoms, but does not cause the symptoms.
- Smoking – Smoking increases the risk of developing Crohn’s disease or making it worse if you already have it.
Other than general inflammation of the digestive tract, IBD can cause other complications including bowel obstruction, ulcers (sores on the mouth, digestive tract, anus, and genitals), fistulas (severe ulcers that extend through the intestinal wall), anal fissures (small tears in the tissue), malnutrition, and colon cancer.
Diagnosis of IBD
Because there are many risk factors and triggers for IBD, and they vary greatly from each person to the next, IBD is diagnosed by ruling out other conditions.
Several tests may be ordered by your doctor to rule out other causes of your symptoms. Colonoscopy, endoscopy, X-ray, CT scans, MRI, lactose intolerance tests, blood tests, and stool tests can all help with the diagnosis of IBD.
Treatment of IBD
For most individuals suffering from IBD, doctors will attempt to treat the inflammation with anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressant’s. Your doctor may also recommend anti-diarrhea medication, anti-biotic medication, vitamin supplements or surgery to remove damaged digestive tissue. Since there is no cure for IBD, avoid trigger foods and situations that cause stress as much as possible.
IBD from Accutane
The anti-acne medication Accutane was linked to IBD in the early 2000’s. Pharmaceutical company Roche introduced Accutane, a retinoid drug, to the market in 1982. Accutane -generically known as isotretinoin – was used to treat severe cystic acne after all other treatments failed. Several serious side effects came with the use of Accutane including birth defects, severe dry skin, nosebleeds, IBD, and higher risk of suicide.
Roche pulled Accutane off the U.S. market in 2009 after it was served with thousands of lawsuits stating the company failed to warn Accutane patients about the increased risk of suicide, birth defects, and IBD. Roche cited a decrease in sales as the primary factor in Accutane’s removal, but the company was spending millions of dollars in legal fees associated with the Accutane lawsuits. Since 2007, Roche has lost six Accutane jury trials. The company has paid out over $50 million in Accutane jury awards and settlements to those who have developed IBD.
Although Accutane was pulled from the market, isotretinoin is still available by prescription. Because the side effects are so severe, isotretinoin users are required to be enrolled in the FDA mandated website iPLEDGE. Doctors must enter their patients information into the website to be confirmed by pharmacists. Female patients must commit to two forms of birth control for the duration of treatment. Monthly pregnancy tests must also be taken to ensure female patients do not expose their fetuses to the drug, as it has been shown to cause severe birth defects.
If you have taken Accutane or isotretinoin, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit if you’ve experienced any of the severe side effects listed above.
St. Louis Accutane Lawyer
It is unacceptable when a pharmaceutical company places profits ahead of people, especially when known risks are hidden at the expense of the public health. Contact a St. Louis Accutane lawyer as soon as possible to review your legal options. Time limits apply.
Our lawyers and case intake specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at your earliest convenience toll-free at 855-552-2337, or locally at 314-409-7060. All consultations are free, and there is no fee unless we win.