Eosinophilic Esophagitis Patients at High Risk of Relapse After Stopping Treatment, Study Says

According to a story from Healio, the results of a randomized trial suggest that patients with eosinophilic esophagitis are likely to experience rapid relapse if they stop treatment. This was true regardless of the treatment method and was consistent even in patients who responded well to medication. The findings indicate that many patients will need long term treatment to control the disease, at least with the currently available treatment approaches.

About Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), is a condition in which the esophagus become inflamed due to an allergic reaction that involves the activity of eosinophils, a form of white blood cell. Generally, the allergic reaction is triggered by some type of food that the patient has eaten, but it is often difficult to determine which specific food item is the cause. Symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis include difficulty swallowing, nausea, painful swallowing, heartburn, rings in the esophagus, narrowing of the esophagus, blockage of the esophagus, and vomiting. Current treatments involve medication to suppress the immune response, eliminating known food allergens, and expanding the esophagus. Many people with the condition also have other autoimmune problems, such as celiac disease or asthma. To learn more about eosinophilic esophagitis, click here.

Study Results

There haven’t been a whole lot of studies that have focused on the durability of treatment response in this illness, but the findings from this study do not bode well. The clinical trial compared two different types of initial therapies for eosinophilic esophagitis: inhaled fluticasone and oral viscous budesonide. Patients who responded to these drugs were then observed for a year or until symptoms began to reappear.

The researchers found that 57 percent of these patients saw their symptoms reappear in less than a year. The median time to recurrence of symptoms was just 244 days. These results did not vary between patients who took one medication or the other. The authors concluded that eosinophilic esophagitis patients should continue maintenance therapy for more prolonged control of symptoms.

The study was first published in the scientific journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Check it out here.

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