Optimising management strategies of inflammatory bowel disease in resource-limited settings in Asia

Abstract

Over the 21st century, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has become a global disease with increasing prevalence reported in the Asian subcontinent as a result of rapid urbanisation, industrialisation, and westernisation of lifestyles. Although rates of surgery have shown a temporal decrease globally because of the increasing availability of new drugs and early initiation of effective therapy, health-care costs associated with IBD have continued to rise. The increase in IBD prevalence in resource-limited countries poses a substantial health-care burden. Drugs are not universally accessible or available. An optimised and practical management strategy of IBD in resource-limited countries in Asia is urgently needed. Special consideration should be made to balance the risk of undertreatment (and suboptimal disease control) because of financial constraints with the risk of overtreatment, which is associated with side-effects and costly therapeutics. In this Series paper, we summarise the current approach in optimising conventional therapies, use of other therapies, and de-escalation of biologics in low-resource settings in Asia. The long-term objective is to strive for more effective and affordable therapies with sustained durability of benefit.

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