What are possible adverse effects of immune modifiers for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Updated: Oct 17, 2017
  • Author: William A Rowe, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Other adverse effects of the immune modifiers include fever, rash, infectious complications, hepatitis, pancreatitis, and bone marrow depression. The most common reason for discontinuing the immune modifiers within the first few weeks is the development of abdominal pain; occasionally, a biochemically demonstrable pancreatitis occurs.

Concerns have been raised about the development of malignancy in patients taking 6-MP and azathioprine. These agents have been associated with a 2- to 4-fold greater incidence of lymphoma and an increase in nonmelanoma skin cancers, but curiously, there is a 3.5-fold decrease in colorectal carcinoma.


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