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Crohn's Disease Health Center

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Crohn's Disease - Treatment Overview

The main treatment for Crohn's disease is medicine to stop the inflammation in the intestine and medicine to prevent flare-ups and keep you in remission. A few people have severe, long-lasting symptoms or complications that may require a stronger medicine, a combination of medicines, or surgery. The type of treatment you need depends on the type of symptoms you have and how bad they are.

Managing symptoms

Mild symptoms may respond to an antidiarrheal medicine such as loperamide (Imodium, for example). This medicine slows or stops the painful spasms in your intestines that cause symptoms.

For mild to moderate symptoms, your doctor will probably have you take aminosalicylates, antibiotics, and other medicines to control inflammation.

Severe symptoms may be treated with corticosteroids, immunomodulator medicines, or biologics. With severe symptoms, the first step is to control the disease. When your symptoms are gone, your doctor will plan your treatment to keep you symptom-free (in remission).

See Medications.


After symptoms are controlled, your treatment will focus on medicine or a combination of medicines that keeps Crohn's disease in remission.

Your doctor will want to see you about every 6 months if your condition is stable. You'll be seen more often if you have flare-ups. You may have lab tests every 2 to 3 months.

Severe disease

Some severe cases of Crohn's disease need to be treated in the hospital. In the hospital, you may get supplemental nutrition through a tube placed in your nose and down into the stomach (enteral nutrition). Or your bowel may need to rest, and you will be fed liquid nutrients in a vein (total parenteral nutrition, TPN). See Other Treatment.

Surgery may be needed if no medicine is effective or if you have complications. See Surgery.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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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