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Drugs. 2012 Dec 24;72(18):2333-49. doi: 10.2165/11638120-000000000-00000.

Diagnosis and therapeutic management of extra-intestinal manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut Medical Center, Farmington, CT, USA.


Extra-intestinal manifestations (EIMs) are reported frequently in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and may be diagnosed before, concurrently or after the diagnosis of IBD. EIMs in IBD may be classified based on their association with IBD disease activity. The first group has a direct relationship with the activity of the bowel disease and includes pauciarticular arthritis, oral aphthous ulcers, erythema nodosum and episcleritis. The second group of EIMs appears to follow an independent course from the underlying bowel disease activity and include ankylosing spondylitis and uveitis. The third group includes EIMs that may or may not be related to intestinal inflammation, such as pyoderma gangrenosum and probably primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Genetic susceptibility, aberrant self-recognition and immunopathogenic autoantibodies against organ-specific cellular antigens shared by the colon and extra-colonic organs may contribute to the pathogenesis and development of these EIMs. The use of biological agents in the IBD armamentarium has expanded the treatment options for some of the disabling EIMs and these agents form the cornerstone in managing most of the disabling EIMs. PSC is one of the most common hepatobiliary manifestations associated with IBD in which no clear treatment options exist other than endoscopic therapy and liver transplantation. Future research targeting the pathogenesis, early diagnosis and treatment of these EIMs is required.

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