Treatment options

See an overview of treatment options from initial to maintenance therapy on the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s website.

Medical management

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America has a page on understanding medications and side effects. Please note, some medications may not be available in Australia and there are differences in eligibility for medications between Australia and the USA.

Find specific information about Crohn’s disease medications at the National Prescribing Service.

Facing treatment with multiple medications? The National Prescribing Service has case studies on two people with Crohn’s disease and their experience with multiple medications. Read Mia’s story or Micaela’s story.

Find specific information about ulcerative colitis medications at the National Prescribing Service.

Facing surgery?

See the treatment options, including surgery from the specialist’s point of view at the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s website.

Treatment eligibility

It is important to take your medication as prescribed by your doctor to remain eligible for treatment. Not picking up medications or missing treatments may impact your eligibility for treatment on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

If you know the item number of your service, you can search the Medical Benefits Scheme to see if it is covered by Medicare. Please note, this website requires an item number and contains technical information in regards to Medicare coverage.

Medicare

What does Medicare cover? Visit this link to see what services may be covered and speak with your doctor for more specific information. Information from the Australian Government Private Health Ombudsman.

PBS

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) provides timely, reliable and affordable access to necessary medicines for Australians. Under the PBS, the government subsidises the cost of medicine for most medical conditions. Only those eligible for the PBS will receive subsidised medication and every time you present your script to the pharmacist, you will need to provide your Medicare card and any health care concession or pension cards you have.

For more information about the PBS, visit the website.

Eligibility

Some treatments have specific criteria you need to meet to be eligible for government- subsidised use under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia. Medicare outlines the criteria for these.

Part of the eligibility assessment for some therapies is the Crohn’s Disease Activity Index (CDAI). It is a tool used to quantify the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. It may be used to assess your eligibility for particular treatments. An online version of this tool is available at IBD Support Australia.

Cost of medicines

If you are eligible and PBS medicines are prescribed to you, you will get them at a reduced cost. If you or your family need a lot of medicines in a calendar year, the PBS Safety Net helps you with the cost of your medicines.

Risk/benefit analysis tools

As you will play an important role in helping to decide your treatment options, it is important to learn how to weigh up the risks and benefits of medications.

The National Prescribing Service has put together a good page on how to understand the risks and benefits of medicines. Although it is written for the ageing population, the information is still very relevant to anyone who wants to know more about this.

The USA FDA website has a page on generally managing the risks and benefits of medicines. Please note, some medications may not be available in Australia and there are differences in treatments between Australia and the USA.

Shared decision making

Shared decision making means you become an active partner in your treatment decisions. Together, you and your doctor consider your values, goals and concerns along with benefits and risks as perceived by them. Find out more about shared decision making from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

What is the best way to discuss treatment options with your doctor? The National Prescribing Service has put together a quick how-to list from the point of view of older people. It’s still a good resource for anyone with a chronic condition like IBD.

Put together a list of questions for your doctor after visiting the National Prescribing Service’s site.