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Trends and demographic patterns in biologic and corticosteroid prescriptions for inflammatory bowel disease: findings from electronic medical records, 2011–2020


Prescriptions for biologic therapy for treatment of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) have increased during the past two decades; however, trends are less clear regarding corticosteroid prescriptions in this context. We designed a cross-sectional study using the IQVIA Ambulatory Electronic Medical Records databases. Weighted linear regressions by age group were used to estimate annual percentage change from 2011 to 2020 in prescriptions for biologics and for corticosteroids among patients with or without biologic prescriptions within the same calendar year. Using 2019 data, we compared patient demographic and lifestyle risk factors using χ2 test for biologic prescriptions and corticosteroids with or without biologics prescriptions. There was an 11% (CD) and 16% (UC) annual increase in the percentage of patients prescribed biologics during the study period. The percentage of patients with biologics prescriptions prescribed corticosteroids decreased by 2% (CD) and 3% (UC) annually after 2015, while the percentage remained unchanged for corticosteroid prescriptions among patients without biologics. In 2019, differences in medication prescriptions existed by patient’s demographic and lifestyle factors for patients with CD (n=52,892) and UC (n=52,280), including a higher percentage prescribed biologics among younger patients, men, those with fewer comorbidities, and current alcohol drinkers, and a higher percentage prescribed corticosteroids without biologics among women, those with more comorbidities, and a history of smoking. While medications continue to evolve during the biologic era, it is important to continue to monitor trends and differences in prescription patterns to assess progress toward optimizing treatment for patients with CD or UC.

  • anti-inflammatory agents
  • anti-inflammatory agents, non-steroidal
  • inflammatory bowel diseases

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