INTRODUCTION: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are immune-mediated chronic inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract whose pathogenesis is not yet fully understood. Despite the advent of biological agents, there are still unmet needs for IBD patients, due to suboptimal rate of sustained remission achieved. Small molecule drugs (SMDs), the next generation of selective drugs in IBD, show promising results in ongoing trials.
AREAS COVERED: We describe the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetic features of novel SMDs and their main differences with biologic agents.
EXPERT OPINION: Small molecule drugs are a promising class of drugs for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease with good results in inducing and maintaining remission. Hence, over the next few years physicians will have numerous options of small molecule drugs for the treatment of patients with IBD. This group of drugs are potentially easier to use over biological agents due to pharmacokinetic features such as oral administration, short half-life, high volume of distribution, and lack of immunogenicity. On the other hand, drug-drug interactions can happen with small-molecule drugs, principally due to competitive metabolic and clearance mechanisms.