Is the writing on the wall? The relationship between the number of disease-modifying anti-inflammatory bowel disease drugs used and the risk of surgical resection

Marc M. Mankarious, Alicia C. Greene, Eric W. Schaefer, Kofi Clarke, Afif N. Kulaylat, Nimalan A. Jeganathan, Michael J. Deutsch, Audrey S. Kulaylat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Disease-modifying anti-inflammatory bowel disease drugs (DMAIDs) revolutionized the management of ulcerative colitis (UC). This study assessed the relationship between the number and timing of drugs used to treat UC and the risk of colectomy and postoperative complications. Methods: This was a retrospective review of adult patients with UC treated with disease-modifying drugs between 2005 and 2020 in the MarketScan database. Landmark and time-varying regression analyses were used to analyze risk of surgical resection. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was used to determine risk of postoperative complications, emergency room visits, and readmissions. Results: A total of 12,193 patients with UC and treated with disease-modifying drugs were identified. With a median follow-up time of 1.7 years, 23.8% used >1 drug, and 8.3% of patients required surgical resection. In landmark analyses, using 2 and ≥3 drugs before the landmark date was associated with higher incidence of surgery for each landmark than 1 drug. Multivariable Cox regression showed hazard ratio (95% CIs) of 4.22 (3.59–4.97), 11.7 (9.01–15.3), and 22.9 (15.0–34.9) for using 2, 3, and ≥4 drugs, respectively, compared with using 1 DMAID. That risk was constant overtime. The number of drugs used preoperatively was not associated with an increased postoperative risk of any complication, emergency room visits, or readmission. Conclusion: The use of multiple disease-modifying drugs in UC is associated with an increased risk of surgical resection with each additional drug. This provides important prognostic data and highlights the importance of patient counseling with minimal concern regarding risk of postoperative morbidity for additional drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology

Cite this