Crohn's Disease - Medications

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What medications have you taken for Crohn's disease? Have any of them helped with symptoms?

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Crohn's Disease Medications

There is no medication that can cure Crohn's disease. Patients with Crohn's disease typically will experience periods of relapse (worsening of inflammation) followed by periods of remission (lessening of inflammation) lasting months to years. During relapses, symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding worsen. During remissions, these symptoms improve. Remissions usually occur because of treatment with medications or surgery, but occasionally they occur spontaneously without any treatment.

Since there is no cure for Crohn's disease, the goals of treatment are to 1) induce remissions, 2) maintain remissions, 3) minimize side effects of treatment, and 4) improve the quality of life. Treatment of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis with medications is similar though not always identical.

Medications for treating Crohn's disease include

  1. anti-inflammatory agents such as 5-ASA compounds and corticosteroids,
  2. topical antibiotics, and
  3. immuno-modulators.

Selection of treatment regimens depends on disease severity, disease location, and disease-associated complications. Various guidelines recommend that approaches be sequential - initially to induce clinical remission, and then to maintain remissions. Initial evidence of improvement should be seen within 2 to 4 weeks and maximal improvement should be seen in 12 to 16 weeks3. The classic approach to therapy in Crohn's disease has been a "step-up" approach starting with the least toxic agents for mild disease, and increasingly more aggressive treatment for more severe disease, or patients who have not responded to less toxic agents. More recently the field has been moving toward a "top-down" approach (early aggressive management) which might decrease exposure to anti-inflammatory agents and increase exposure to agents that enhance mucosal healing that might prevent future complications4.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Molly, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 17

I have been on so many medications for Crohn's disease but Cimzia has made a huge difference for me! I was very scared about a biologic drug but it has made it possible to have a life outside my bathroom. I can spend time with my children and go do things. Eat something other than liquid or soft blah foods. I love Cimzia.

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Comment from: Robert, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I suffered for about 2 1/2 years before finding a treatment to relieve my symptoms. It began suddenly, just prior to an overseas trip which had to be cancelled. I began to see fresh blood in my stool and by the next day I probably had a high fever (because I had hallucinations during the night but no thermometer) and felt very weak and nauseous. I saw my primary doctor and he arranged a colonoscopy, scheduled in six weeks. Two years, two colonoscopies, one camera swallow, countless blood tests and four gastroenterologists later I started budesonide and began getting relief from the continuous bloody diarrhea. In the interim, I had tried Asacol, Pentasa, Lialda, balsalazide, mesalamine, enemas and prednisone. I seem to be in remission now on 3mg of budesonide daily.

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