Management of inflammatory bowel diseases in older adults

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Apr;8(4):368-382. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00358-2. Epub 2023 Jan 17.


The burden of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in older adults (ie, aged over 60 years old) is increasing due to a combination of an ageing population with compounding prevalence of IBD and increasing incidence of elderly-onset (ie, onset over the age of 60 years) IBD. Despite the increasing prevalence of IBD, there is a paucity of evidence on which to base management of older adults with IBD, leading to substantial variability in care. This population is under-represented in clinical trials and has a high burden of chronic corticosteroid use, low uptake of steroid-sparing immunosuppressive agents, and high rates of unplanned health-care use and disability. Management of IBD in older adults requires carefully weighing an individual patient's risk of IBD-related complications, IBD-directed immunosuppressive therapy, and non-IBD comorbidities. A deeper understanding of biological and functional age, dynamic risk stratification strategies (including frailty-based risk assessment tools), comparative effectiveness and safety of current therapies and treatment strategies, and shared decision making to inform treatment goals and targets is needed to improve outcomes in older adults with IBD. In this Review, we discuss the epidemiology, natural history, pathophysiology, and medical and surgical management of older individuals living with IBD and identify key research gaps and approaches to address them.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Immunosuppressive Agents