Conventional therapies remain the mainstay of treatment for most patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with only a minority of patients requiring biologic therapies. Recently, attention has focused on optimizing dosing strategies for biologic agents; however, of equal importance are recent advances in the optimization of conventional IBD therapies. Newer aminosalicylate formulations demonstrate similar efficacy with a reduced pill burden and less frequent dosing, while new corticosteroid preparations may retain efficacy with a significantly improved safety profile. The limited indications for antibiotics and probiotics have been further refined by recent data, although uncertainties remain. Advances in the understanding of thiopurine metabolism continue to improve dose optimization and the potential for deliberate therapeutic manipulation with adjunctive therapies. An improved knowledge of intracellular methotrexate metabolism may translate to similar opportunities in the future. This article discusses recent advances relevant to clinical practice today.