Working with your doctor
Communication is the key to any good relationship. Be sure to help your gastroenterologist understand your symptoms and how Crohn’s affects your daily life. By being open and honest with your doctor, you'll give yourself the best chance of benefiting from your treatment.
The "doctor-patient disconnect" can be real
Even in the best doctor-patient relationships, sometimes there can be communication breakdowns that can have a significant impact on how well your condition is understood and the way that it's treated. Today more than ever, it can be hard for patients to connect with their doctors.
To gain insight into the communication challenges these patients face, in-person interviews with 18 gastroenterologists and 40 patients with inflammatory bowel disease were conducted and videotaped. Here's what was revealed:
- The average visit lasted less than 11 minutes, during which doctors did more than twice the talking compared with patients
- 93% of the symptom-related questions asked by doctors focused on the "here and now" as opposed to the time since the last appointment—which may explain why flares were discussed only 3% of the time
- The most surprising fact was that in only 1 out of 10 cases did doctors discuss with patients how they deal with the symptoms of their condition
And yet, some of the most important decisions that will be made in your life are made during these appointments.
Suggestions for your next office visit
- Write it down: Before your visit, be sure to write down your symptoms, the medications you take, any allergies you have, as well as previous medical procedures and diseases you've had. Show this list to your gastroenterologist
- Share how you feel: Tell your gastroenterologist about the symptoms that bother you the most. Also, don't hesitate to talk about your feelings
- Share details about your symptoms: If you have pain, describe how it hurts and discuss anything else that doesn't feel right
- Speak up if something doesn't feel right: Tell your gastroenterologist about side effects you may have, such as stomach problems or skin rashes. This will help him or her develop a treatment plan that is right for you
Get the most from your appointment
To help you get the most from your appointment, we've created a Crohn’s Disease Appointment Prep Guide. Simply download and print the guide, answer the questions, and bring it to your next appointment.
Answering these questions will help you discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Together, you and your doctor can then decide if treatment with REMICADE® may be right for you.
Questions for your gastroenterologist
Below are some questions you may want to ask during your next visit:
- How did I get Crohn’s?
- How severe is my Crohn’s?
- How will Crohn’s affect my body? How will it affect my overall health?
- What exactly is going on with my body when I have a flare?
- Is my disease under control if I'm still experiencing flares?
- What are the complications I may experience from my Crohn’s symptoms?
- What kinds of treatments are available to help me manage my Crohn’s symptoms?
- Am I a good candidate for biologic therapy?
- Is there any kind of diet, food, or fitness plan that can help me manage Crohn’s?
- I have _____ flares per month/year. What should I do during a flare?
- What could happen if I don't treat my Crohn’s symptoms?
- Can REMICADE® help me achieve my treatment goals?
- Is REMICADE® right for me?
When asking questions, make sure to have your gastroenterologist explain anything you may not understand.
REMICADE® can lower your ability to fight infections. Serious and sometimes fatal events can occur. There have been reports of serious infections including tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that have spread throughout the body. Lymphoma, including a fatal kind called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, and other cancers have been reported in children and adults taking REMICADE®. Some people with heart failure should not take REMICADE®. Other serious side effects reported include skin cancer, hepatitis B, liver injury, blood problems, allergic reactions, nervous system problems, or lupus-like syndrome. To learn more about these and other risks, please read the Important Safety Information and the Medication Guide , and talk with your doctor.