In Gastroenterology, Therapeutic drug monitoring

More than five million people worldwide suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. World IBD Day on May 19 brings awareness to this illness. An important therapy option are drugs called TNF-α blockers. When drug levels are monitored during treatment, more than just the patients benefit.

1. Better efficacy

During therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), the concentration of active ingredient in the patient’s blood is measured regularly and the dosage adjusted as needed. Monitoring is important because every person metabolizes drugs differently due to individual pharmacokinetics, whereby different drug levels can be present even though the dose is identical. Every drug has its optimum effect within a certain concentration range called the therapeutic window. By measuring the drug levels, treatment providers can offer personalized therapy that ensures the drug is dosed correctly and is working optimally.

2. Fewer side effects

If the drug level is too low, the drug will not work optimally, but a drug level that is too high is also problematic since it puts unnecessary stress on the body and can cause side effects or even toxic effects. Therapeutic drug monitoring can avoid dangerous overdoses.

3. Long-term therapy success

In some patients with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, the drug starts to lose its effect over time, which can necessitate changing the drug. The reason for the loss of efficacy may be in a dose that is too low and the development of antibodies against the drug (anti-drug antibodies, ADA). Monitoring of the drug and ADA concentrations helps treatment providers adapt the therapy to the patient’s individual needs and ensure long-term therapy success.

4. Higher quality of life

Long-acting therapy with few side effects and the avoidance of unsuccessful therapy attempts involving changes in drugs lead also to a long-lasting improvement in the patient’s quality of life.

5. Cost savings

If the patient receives a dosage that is too high, more drugs are taken than what is actually necessary. Studies have been able to show that therapeutic drug monitoring has a positive effect on reducing treatment costs.

Start therapeutic drug monitoring now

Monitoring drug levels does not have to be labor-intensive or expensive. R-Biopharm offers clinical tests for the quantitative detection of all relevant TNF-α blockers used in the treatment of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. R-Biopharm sells ELISA tests as well as rapid tests that produce a result in only 20 minutes.

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