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, persistent
symptoms or complications that may require a stronger medicine, a combination
of medicines, or surgery. The type of symptoms you have and how bad they are
will determine the treatment you need.
Your doctor will most likely
start with the traditional first-line treatment for
Crohn's disease. He or she will then add or change
medicines if you are not getting better.
My life with Crohn's has not been easy.
I remember lying in my hospital bed watching a commercial for iced tea. Everyone was running around in the sunshine listening to happy, uplifting music. Never before had I been so jealous of people doing something so simple. I was 16 and it was 2006, five years after I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. I had an intestinal blockage and was hospitalized for five days while hooked up to a nasogastric (NG) tube that sucked out bile that was blocking my small...
Medicines that suppress the
immune system (called
immunomodulator medicines), such as azathioprine or mercaptopurine. You may take these if the
medicines listed above do not work, if your symptoms come back when you stop
taking corticosteroids, or if your symptoms come back often, even with
Biologics (such as
infliximab or adalimumab). Your doctor may have you try these medicines if you have
not had success with other medicines for Crohn's disease. In some cases, these
medicines are tried before some of the other medicines that are listed above.
They are also used to treat fistulas.
Severe symptoms may be treated
with corticosteroids given through a vein (intravenous, IV) or biologics.
With severe symptoms, the first step is to control the disease. When your
symptoms are gone, your doctor will probably have you start taking one of the
medicines listed above to keep you symptom-free (in remission).
Ongoing treatment is designed to
find a medicine or combination of medicines that keeps
Crohn's disease in remission.
aminosalicylates or immune system
suppressors keep your disease in remission, you will continue taking the
medicines. Your doctor will want to see you about every 6 months if your
condition is stable or more frequently if you have flare-ups. You may have
lab tests every 2 to 3 months.
Corticosteroids may be given to stop inflammation if
you have flare-ups of symptoms. If you need to take corticosteroids for an
extended time, you also may receive calcium, vitamin D, and prescription
medicine to prevent