Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease With Biosimilars

Bincy P. Abraham, MD


August 11, 2022

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the umbrella term for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two chronic diseases of the intestinal tract, afflicts more than 3 million people in the United States.

Biologic therapies that block the dysregulated immune response that causes painful inflammation have proven very effective against IBD. Their major drawback is cost. Biosimilars, sometimes referred to as "generic biologics," are highly similar to their originator biologic and carry a much lower cost burden for patients.

In this ReCAP, Dr Bincy Abraham, of Houston Methodist Academic Institute, explains that biosimilars must undergo rigorous scientific testing and show no clinically significant differences from reference products in safety, purity, efficacy, and immunogenicity. She clarifies the difference between an FDA-approved biosimilar and one that has received the FDA's designation for interchangeability.

Dr Abraham also discusses key considerations for deciding to switch a patient to a biosimilar, including when it is not appropriate. She stresses the importance of educating patients about the efficacy and safety evidence around biosimilars to avoid a possible nocebo effect.


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