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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

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Treating Crohn's With Biologics: Drugs at a Glance

Biologic drugs can be a good option to help make your Crohn's symptoms go away and prevent new flare-ups. To do this, they attack enzymes or proteins that inflame your intestine.

Biologics don't suppress your whole immune system, as steroids tend to, so they are less likely to cause major side effects.

Recommended Related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease

How to Have a Confident Social Life With IBD

Chances are your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is under good control thanks to effective medicine. But even if you're in remission from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, you may fear having sudden cramps or worse when you're out and about. The good news: You don't have to give up your social life. People who've been there share their advice:

Read the How to Have a Confident Social Life With IBD article > >

There are four biologic drugs approved to treat Crohn's disease. Three of them are in the class of drugs known as TNF-blockers:

Tysabri (natalizumab), the fourth biologic drug, is in the drug class known as monoclonal antibodies.

Dosing Schedule

Cimzia. This drug isgiven as a shot. After your first shot, you get injections at 2 and 4 weeks. After that you get a shot every 4 weeks.

Humira. This is also given as a shot. You'll need to take a shot every 2 weeks.

Remicade. You take this drug through an IV. After your first IV dose, you'll get another IV dose at 2 weeks and 6 weeks. After that you'll get an IV dose every 8 weeks.

Side Effects

The side effects vary by the class of drug you are taking.

Common side effects for TNF-blockers -- Cimzia, Humira, and Remicade -- include:

Side effects at the location of the injection include:

Some serious potential side effects include:

Before you start taking any of these drugs your doctor will screen you for tuberculosis (TB) and check for new signs of TB during treatment.

Common side effects for Tysabri, a monoclonal antibody, include:

Serious potential side effects include:

Tysabri may also raise your risk of a rare brain infection that causes death or severe disability. You should not take it if you have a weakened immune system.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on December 29, 2013

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