AGA - American Gastroenterological Association
AGA - American Gastroenterological Association

Planning your IBD life

Planning your IBD life

New medications

Icon of various sizes of medication pills
While starting a new medication can make inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) much more manageable, it can also cause new side effects. If you feel nervous about starting a new IBD treatment, talk to your medical team about all potential side effects and tips for managing them effectively. Then, between your appointments, track any symptoms you are experiencing and come prepared to talk to your provider about how the medication affects your life. Remember, you always have options!
Icon of various sizes of medication pills

Questions to ask about new medications

  • How will this medication improve my IBD symptoms and quality of life?
  • Are there any short or long-term side effects I might experience with this new medication?
  • What is the best way to balance my current medications with my new medications?
  • Is this medication the best treatment option for me? What are the benefits vs. risks?
  • (If applicable) I have trouble swallowing pills. Is there a different medication or treatment option that may be easier for me?
  • (if applicable) What do I need to know about medications that are administered via injection (given by needle into a muscle or under the skin) or infusion (given intravenously, IV, into the vein)?
    • What is recovery like after infusion?
  • Can you tell me more about the dosing information of this medication?
    • How often should I take it?
    • How do I take it?
    • How much of it do I take at once?
    • Is there a specific time of day to take it? (Morning, mid-day, evening)
  • With this new medication, should my diet change?
  • Is there anything I should avoid when taking this medication? (Certain foods, drinks, activities, etc.)
  • How long does it typically take for this medication to start working?
    • (If applicable) If I don’t notice it working, when should I reach back out?
  • Does my insurance cover this medication?
    • If yes, how much will it cost?
    • If not, is there a generic or more cost-effective option?
    • If not, can your office help me work with my insurance company to appeal their decision?
When staring new medications, it’s important to understand potential screenings, such as blood work, or other measures you may need to take ahead of time, like vaccines. Coming to your office visit or telehealth appointment with a list of questions is a good start to feel comfortable with your treatment plan.
Dr. Sonia Friedman,
IBD clinician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Things to consider

  • Taking medications for IBD can affect your immune system, making you more at risk of infections. Talk to your care team about extra precautions you may need to take to avoid getting sick.
  • Ask your doctor if biologics or biosimilars may be right for you. Click to learn more about biologics and biosimilars for patients living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • If you’re being treated for a separate condition, tell your other medical team about your IBD symptoms and needs.
  • Take your medications and supplements at the same time every day to avoid missing a dose.
  • You may have some short-term side effects as your body adjusts to a new medication.
    • Usually, these side effects will go away with time.
    • If side effects last longer, talk to your care team.
      • Sometimes, changing the times of day you take medication can help with side effects.
    • Use this medication log to keep track of all your medicines.
    • Learn more about IBD vaccine recommendations and work with your health care provider to decide which vaccines you need to stay healthy.
This site uses cookies and third-party scripts to provide certain services. View Privacy Policy
Skip to content