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What medications are used to treat Crohn's disease?

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Crohn's disease is treated primarily with medications, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as salicylates. Examples include mesalamine (Asacol, Lialda, Pentasa), olsalazine (Dipentum), and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine). Side effects include gastrointestinal upset, headache, nausea, diarrhea, or rash.
  • Corticosteroids, a more powerful type of anti-inflammatory drug. Examples include budesonide (Entocort), and prednisone or methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol). Side effects, if taken for long periods of time, can be severe and may include bone thinning, muscle loss, skin problems, and increased risk of infection. Entocort has fewer side effects.
  • Immune system modifiers such as azathioprine (Imuran) or methotrexate (Rheumatrex). It can take up to six months for these drugs to work. These drugs are associated with increased risk of infections that can be life-threatening.
  • Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), metronidazole (Flagyl), and others. Flagyl can cause a metallic taste in the mouth, nausea, and tingling or numbness of the hands and feet. Cipro can cause nausea and has been associated with rupture of the Achilles tendon.
  • Antidiarrheal drugs.
  • Biologic therapies, such as adalimumab (Humira), adalimumab-atto (Amjevita), a biosimilar to Humira, certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), infliximab (Remicade), and infliximab-dyyb (Inflectra), biosimilar to Remicade. Remicade neutralizes the activity of a substance called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). This substance is overproduced by people with Crohn's and plays an important role in causing the inflammation associated with Crohn's disease. The drug is given intravenously (through the vein). Side effects include life-threatening infection, infusion reaction, headache, stomach upset, fatigue, fever, pain, dizziness, rash, and itching.
  • There are other biologic alternatives to 80,webmd_20170807,Crohn's Disease,WebMD,091e9c5e80007b95,,,How effective is therapy for Crohn's disease?,"Response to therapy is evaluated within several weeks of starting treatment. Treatment is continued until remission is obtained (at which time, the health care provider may consider maintenance therapy). No improvement calls for more aggressive therapy. Nutritional supplements may also be recommended by your doctor.

From: Crohn’s Disease Overview WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: 

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. "Crohn's Diagnosis & Testing."

FDA. “FDA approves Inflectra, a biosimilar to Remicade.” “FDA approves Amjevita, a biosimilar to Humira.”

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Uptodate.com. "Overview of the medical management of severe or refractory Crohn disease in adults."

 

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on June 21, 2018

SOURCES: 

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. "Crohn's Diagnosis & Testing."

FDA. “FDA approves Inflectra, a biosimilar to Remicade.” “FDA approves Amjevita, a biosimilar to Humira.”

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Uptodate.com. "Overview of the medical management of severe or refractory Crohn disease in adults."

 

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on June 21, 2018

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When is surgery done for the treatment of Crohn's disease?

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