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Innovation Observatory > Reports > Drugs > Upadacitinib for moderate to severe active Crohn’s disease

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Upadacitinib for moderate to severe active Crohn’s disease


Gastrointestinal, Pancreatic and Liver Disease

October 2021

Upadacitinib is in clinical development as a treatment option for moderate to severe Crohn’s disease (CD). CD is a type of inflammatory bowel disease which can affect any part of the digestive system. CD causes inflammation and ulceration, which affects food digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste elimination. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue. There is no cure for CD so treatment options focus on managing and relieving symptoms. Patients may have periods of time when they are not suffering from symptoms (remission) or have flare-ups of symptoms (relapses). Additional treatments are required for CD, as some patients do not respond well to some of the current therapy options.
Upadacitinib is an oral medicine in the class of a selective and reversible Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor. It acts by inhibiting signalling associated with certain proteins called cytokines involved in the inflammatory process caused by CD. In doing so, upadacitinib limits the inflammation that underpins the pathogenesis of CD and brings the inflammation in the bowel under control. If licensed, upadacitinib will offer an additional treatment option for adult patients with moderate to severe CD.

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