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    Treating Crohn's With Biologics: Drugs at a Glance

    If you have moderate to severe Crohn’s disease that has been resistant to oral medications, 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. While they are less likely to cause major side effects, potentially dangerous side effects are possible.

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    Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    The term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed. The likeliest cause is an immune reaction the body has against its own intestinal tissue. Two major types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon or large intestine. Crohn's disease, on the other hand, can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. Most commonly, though, it affects the small intestine...

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

    Two other approved drugs work on a protein called integrin and block movement of inflammatory white blood cells:

    Dosing Schedule

    Cimzia. This drug is given 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.

    Tysarbi. This is given through an IV as well, every 4 weeks.

    Entyvio. Also given 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 and Entyvio include:

    Serious potential side effects include:

    Tysabri raises your risk of a rare brain infection that causes death or severe disability, and requires special monitoring by your doctor.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on February 02, 2016

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