Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be at a higher risk for pneumonia, according to a study published online on January 8, 2013, by The American Journal of Gastroenterology
Researchers compared patients with IBD with 4 matched controls from the LifeLink Health Plan Claims Database. The study included more than 50,000 patients with Crohn’s disease and more than 55,000 patients with ulcerative colitis. Researchers also analyzed possible associations between medications and pneumonia risk.
The study authors found that patients with IBD had an increased risk of pneumonia when compared with patients without IBD. Both Crohn’s disease patients and ulcerative colitis patients were at a higher risk for pneumonia. The researchers also found that use of biologic medications, corticosteroids, thiopurines, proton pump inhibitors, and narcotics were all connected to an increased risk in pneumonia.
The researchers suggest that patients with IBD can attempt to reduce their risk of pneumonia through vaccination, which should occur at diagnosis with IBD if possible. Other risk factors, such as use of corticosteroids and narcotics, can be addressed and minimized by prescribing alternative therapies when appropriate.