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Real world evidence of the association between medication and life expectancy in elderly inflammatory bowel disease: a population-based cohort study


Background — Life expectancy in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has increased but remains shorter than in people without IBD. We describe the life expectancy associated with IBD therapies among the growing number of older adults living with IBD.

Methods — Older adults (≥ 65 years) with IBD were identified from population-based health administrative data using a validated algorithm. Life expectancy on patients' 65th birthday, stratified by sex, was calculated using a period life table approach from age- and sex-specific mortality rates among patients receiving immunomodulator monotherapy, biologic monotherapy, combination therapy, mesalamine, systemic steroids, and no therapy.

Results — Among 28,260 older adults with IBD (239,125 person-years of follow-up), life expectancy at 65 years was longest for patients taking mesalamine (females: 22.1 years, 95% CI 21.8-22.5; males: 19.6 years, 95% CI 19.3-20.0) and shortest for patients taking steroids (females: 11.7 years, 95% CI 11.0-12.4; males 10.3 years, 95% CI 9.7-10.8). Life expectancy was similar for patients receiving immunomodulator monotherapy and biologic monotherapy. Immunomodulator monotherapy was associated with a reduction in life expectancy compared to combination therapy by 5.1 (95% CI 2.3-7.8) in females and 2.8 years (95% CI 0.1-5.5) in males.

Conclusions — Life expectancy varies across therapies used for IBD, with differences likely arising from a combination of medication effectiveness, safety profiles, disease severity, and comorbid conditions. These considerations should be balanced when deciding on a therapeutic approach for the management of IBD in older adults.



Kuenzig ME, Manuel DG, Donelle J, Benchimol EI. BMC Gastroenterol. 2022; 22(1):5. Epub 2022 Jan 4.

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