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Crohn's Disease Health Center

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Crohn's Disease - Medications

Medicines usually are the treatment of choice for Crohn's disease. They can control or prevent inflammation in the intestines and help to:

  • Relieve symptoms.
  • Promote healing of damaged tissues.
  • Put the disease into remission and keep it from flaring up again.
  • Postpone the need for surgery.

Medicine choices

The choice of medicine usually depends on how severe the disease it, what part of the intestine is affected, and whether complications are present. Medicines for Crohn's disease include:

  • Aminosalicylates (such as mesalamine or sulfasalazine). These medicines help manage symptoms.
  • Antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin or metronidazole). These may be tried if aminosalicylates aren't helping. They are also used to treat fistulas and abscesses.
  • Corticosteroids (such as budesonide or prednisone). These may be given for a few weeks or months to control swelling. These steroid medicines usually stop symptoms and put the disease in remission. But they are not used as long-term treatment to keep symptoms from coming back.
  • Medicines that suppress the immune system (such as azathioprine and methotrexate). You may take these if the medicines listed above don't work, if your symptoms come back when you stop taking steroid medicines, or if your symptoms come back often, even with treatment.
  • Biologics (such as infliximab or adalimumab). Your doctor may have you try these medicines if other medicines for Crohn's disease haven't worked for you. In some cases, biologics are tried before some of the other medicines listed above. They are also used to treat fistulas.
  • Cyclosporine and intravenous (IV) corticosteroids, which may be needed for severe cases.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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