Management of inflammatory bowel disease

Emily K Wright, Nik S Ding and Ola Niewiadomski
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01001
Published online: 1 October 2018



  • Australia has one of the highest incidence rates of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the world.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment for IBD is critical. For Crohn disease, in particular, this may change the natural history of disease and reduce disability.
  • Faecal calprotectin is a sensitive test that can be used by primary care physicians to assist in determining which patients with gastrointestinal symptoms may have IBD. This allows for prompt identification of patients who may benefit from endoscopy.
  • Regular re-evaluation of disease status with strategies that can safely, readily and reliably detect the presence of inflammation with faecal biomarkers and imaging is important. To avoid the risks of cumulative radiation exposure, magnetic resonance imaging and/or intestinal ultrasound, rather than computed tomography scanning, should be performed when possible.
  • Drug treatments for IBD now include five biological drugs listed by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme: adalimumab, infliximab, golimumab, vedolizumab and ustekinumab. Such developments offer the possibility for improved disease control in selected patients.


  • 1 St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne, VIC


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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