New Drug Helps Treat Crohn's Disease - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Drug Helps Treat Crohn's Disease

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YAKIMA, Wa -    A new treatment is now available for Cohn's Disease, which affects more than half a million people in the US.

The drug is called Humira.  The FDA approved it last month.  Local Gastroenterologists are now starting to prescribe the drug for patients who have Crohn's disease.

Sandra Barstad was diagnosed with the disease 45-years ago.

"It was so new, nobody new what to do," she says.

Doctors say Crohn's Disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.  The intestines can become inflamed or even close up entirely.  Barstad has tried many different medications over the years.

"They started me on a drug back then and I Had a reaction," says Barstad. 

She's now using a new drug with great success, but she's also had four surgeries to remove inflamed areas in her intestines. 

Humira provides a new option if the drug she is using stops working.

"There's 50-50 chance patient will respond.  If other treatments don't work, it can become another option," says Dr. Gonzalo Pandolfi, a Gastroenterologist from Yakima.

The drug is easier for doctors to administer.  It's just an injection under the skin and can be done in a regular visit to the doctor every two weeks.

It gives people like Sandra Barstad another alternative to a dangerous stomach surgery.

"Makes me feel more secure they are developing new drugs for Crohn's."

Dr. Pandolfi says he's only given Humira to a few patients since the drug was approved.