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Treatments for Crohn's disease

Treatments for Crohn's disease:

There is no cure for Crohn's disease, but can it be effectively treated in many people, allowing them to live normal, active lives. Treatment is aimed at minimizing symptoms and complications by reducing inflammation of the bowel and ensuring good nutrition.

To achieve this requires regular medical care and a multifaceted treatment plan that is individualized to the severity of the condition and other factors. A good treatment plan may produce long-term symptom-free periods of remission without symptoms.

Prescribed medications may include anti-inflammation drugs that contain mesalamine, an active ingredient that helps control inflammation. The most commonly used drug of this type is sulfasalazine. Crohn's disease may also be treated with corticosteroids, including prednisone. Corticosteroids are very effective in controlling symptoms, but can have serious side effects, such as increased susceptibility to infection. Other medications include infliximab and immune system suppressors, which also decrease inflammation but can have serious side effects.

Treatment may also include medications that have an anti-diarrheal effect, such as codeine. Intravenous rehydration and electrolyte replacement may be needed because frequent diarrhea can result in the loss of too much fluid and too many electrolytes, potentially causing severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Complete intravenous nutrition may be needed to ensure complete nutrition if a person with Crohn's disease is unable to eat in order to let the GI tract rest. Vitamins and other nutritional supplements may also be needed.

Dietary changes can also be helpful. This can include drinking extra fluids to prevent dehydration, eating a low-fat diet, and limiting dairy products and any other foods that seem to aggravate symptoms. These foods may be different for every individual. Reducing stress and getting regular exercise can also be of benefit.

Surgery may also be needed to control Crohn's disease in some severe cases. These include cases in which dietary and lifestyle changes and medications do not reduce severe symptoms or when there are complications, such as fistula formation. Surgical procedures include a partial colectomy, in which a portion of the colon is removed, and total colectomy, in which the entire colon is removed.

Crohn's disease treatment: There is currently no cure for Crohn's disease. The overall treatment goal for people living with the condition is to control symptoms to a degree that allows them to feel better and live as normally and actively as possible. This includes controlling inflammation, ensuring good nutrition, and relieving symptoms, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. For the best outcome for your individual case of Crohn's disease, it is important to get a referral to a qualified gastroenterologist who is experienced in treating people with Crohn's disease. In conjunction with this specialist, you will develop an individualized treatment plan that best fits your type and severity of Crohn's disease, your goals, and your life style. The plan will also be based on your complete medical history, coexisting complications, such as ulcers, and your response to prior treatments.

The most effect treatment plans include a multifaceted approach. One facet of treatment is the use of medications. After a complete evaluation, your health care provider will decide what medication or combination of medications will work best for you. Prescribed medications may include anti-inflammation drugs that contain mesalamine, an active ingredient that helps control inflammation. The most commonly used drug of this type is sulfasalazine. Anti-inflammation drugs can have side effects that include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and headache. Crohn's disease may also be treated with corticosteroids, including prednisone. Corticosteroids are very effective in controlling symptoms, but can have serious side effects, such as increased susceptibility to infection. Other medications include infliximab and immune system suppressors, which also decrease inflammation, but can have serious side effects. It is very important that these medications are taken exactly as directed, that you immediately notify your gastroenterologist if you experience any side effects, and that you ensure that all your health care providers, including the dentist, are aware of your medications.

Treatment may also include medications that have an anti-diarrheal effect, such as codeine. Intravenous rehydration and electrolyte replacement may be needed because frequent diarrhea can result in the loss of too much fluid and too many electrolytes, potentially causing severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Complete intravenous nutrition may be needed as a bridge treatment in order to let the GI tract rest. Vitamins and other nutritional supplements may also be ordered, but should only be used as advised by your gastroenterologist. There is currently no evidence that any type of a special diet can improve or correct Crohn's disease.

Many people with Crohn's disease may also need surgery at some point in their lives. Surgery is only considered when the symptoms of Crohn's disease cannot be controlled by medications. Surgery may involve the removal of the diseased section of the intestines or in some cases the complete removal of the large intestine (colectomy). Surgery might also be necessary to address complications of Crohn's disease, such as intestinal obstructions, ulcers, GI bleeding, or pockets of infection (abscesses).

Treatment List for Crohn's disease

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Crohn's disease includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Diet changes
  • Exercise
  • Stress reduction
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids
  • Corticosteroids
  • Predisnone
  • Immunosuppressives
  • Remicade (R) (infliximab) - an anti-TNF drug
  • Mesalamine containing drugs
    • Sulfasalazine
    • 5-ASA agents - such as Asacol, Dipentum, or Pentasa.
  • Antidiarrheal drugs - diphenoxylate, loperamide, and codeine
  • Fluids - to treat dehydration from diarrhea
  • Electrolytes - to treat electrolyte imbalances from diarrhea
  • Antibiotics - used to treat secondary infections, not Crohn's disease itself.
  • Surgical treatments - aim to reduce symptoms by removing an inflamed part of the digestive system.
    • Intestinal surgery - to remove an afflicted part of the intestine
    • Colectomy - removal of the colon
  • Vitamin A - to prevent vitamin A deficiency
  • Vitamin E - possibly used for treatment of related Vitamin E deficiency
  • Chronic diarrhea in Crohn diseaseresponds well to antidiarrheal agents such as loperamide (2-4 mg), diphenoxylate with atropine
  • Sulfasalazine is mainly useful in colonic disease
  • For colon and small bowel inflammation, anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics are helpful
  • Steroid therapy is indicated in patients with severe systemic symptoms (eg, fever, nausea, weight loss) and in those whose conditiondoes not respond to anti-inflammatory agents
  • Treatment may include medicines, nutrition supplements, surgery or a combination of these options. Some people have long periods of remission, when they are free of symptoms
  • Treatment of Crohn's disease is complex and management depends on the type, duration and severity of symptoms, the specific area of the gut that is involved and complications arising from the disease and treatment. Treatments include:
    • Smoking cessation - possibly the most important factor in maintaining remission
    • Medications
    • Symptomatic treatment
      • 5-Aminosalicylates - Sulfasalazine, mesalazine, olsalazine, balsalazide
      • Corticosteroids - used to control active inflammation, role in maintaining remission limited
    • Disease modifying treatment
    • Antibiotics - Metronidazole and ciprofloxacin used for up to 3 months may be effective in mild to moderate active disease. Other antibiotics used include clarithromycin, rifabutin and clofazimine
    • Antidiarrheals - loperamide and codeine - useful to control symptoms but should be avoided in acute exacerbations
    • Cholestyramine - reduces diarrhoea in patients with disease of the terminal ileum or resection of the terminal ileum
    • Other agents being trialled
    • Dietary treatment
      • Parenteral nutrition - useful in severe disease and in children
      • Probiotics
      • Adequate nutrition including management of deficiencies such as iron, calcium, and fat soluble vitamins. Parenteral B12 supplementation may be needed in patients with disease of the terminal ileum
    • Psychological support as effects of this chronic disease can be debilitating physically and mentally
    • Surgical care - indicated for persistent disease despite high dose steroid therapy, fistulae unresponsive to medical management, strictures, intra-abdominal abscesses, cancer and bleeding
    • Management of complications such as osteoporosis, chronic pain syndromes, and nutritional deficiencies

Alternative Treatments for Crohn's disease

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Crohn's disease may include:

Crohn's disease: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Crohn's disease may include:

Hidden causes of Crohn's disease may be incorrectly diagnosed:

  • The exact cause of Crohn disease remains unknown. Current theories implicate the role of genetic, microbial, immunologic, environmental, dietary, vascular, and even psychosocial factors as potential causative agents
  • Imbalance between proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators
  • Research shows that the inflammation seen in the GI tract of people with Crohn's disease involves several factors: the genes the patient has inherited, the immune system itself, and the environment. Foreign substances, also referred to as antigens, are found in the environment. One possible cause for inflammation may be the body's reaction to these antigens, or that the antigens themselves are the cause for the inflammation. Some scientists think that a protein produced by the immune system, called anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF), may be a possible cause for the inflammation associated with Crohn's disease
  • more causes...»

Crohn's disease: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Crohn's disease:

Curable Types of Crohn's disease

Possibly curable types of Crohn's disease may include:

Crohn's disease: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Drugs and Medications used to treat Crohn's disease:

Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment or change in treatment plans.

Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Crohn's disease include:

  • Entocort EC
  • Methylprednisolone
  • A-Methapred
  • Depmedalone-40
  • Depmedalone-80
  • Depo-Medrol
  • Enpak Refill
  • Mar-Pred 40
  • Medrol
  • Medrol Acne Lotion
  • Medrol Enpak
  • Medrol Veriderm Cream
  • Meprolone
  • Neo-Medrol Acne Lotion
  • Neo-Medrol Veriderm
  • Rep-Pred 80
  • Solu-Medrol
  • Prednisolone
  • A&D w/Prednisolone
  • Cortalone
  • Delta-Cortef
  • Duapred
  • Fernisonone-P
  • Hydelta-TBA
  • Hydeltrasol
  • Inflamase
  • Inflamase Forte
  • Key-Pred
  • Meticortelone
  • Meti-Derm
  • Metreton
  • Minims Prednisolone
  • Mydrapred
  • Niscort
  • Nor-Pred
  • Nova-Pred
  • Novoprednisolone
  • Optimyd
  • Otobione
  • Peidaject
  • Pediapred
  • Polypred
  • Predcor
  • Pred Forte
  • Pred-G
  • Pred Mild
  • Prelone
  • PSP-IV
  • Savacort
  • Sterane
  • TBA Pred
  • Prednisone
  • Apo-Prednisone
  • Aspred-C
  • Deltasone
  • Liquid Pred
  • Meticorten
  • Novoprednisone
  • Orasone
  • Panasol-S
  • Paracort
  • Prednicen-M
  • Prednisone Intensol
  • SK-Prednisone
  • Sterapred
  • Sterapred-DS
  • Winpred
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Alti-Sulfasalazine
  • Azaline
  • Azulfidine
  • Azulfidine EN-Tabs
  • PMS Sulfasalazine
  • PMS Sulfasalazine E.C
  • Salazopyrin
  • Salazopyrin EN
  • SAS-Enema
  • SAS Enteric-500
  • SAS-500
  • Sulfazine EC
  • Budesonide
  • Entocort

Unlabeled Drugs and Medications to treat Crohn's disease:

Unlabelled alternative drug treatments for Crohn's disease include:

  • Mercaptopurine
  • Alti-Mercaptopurine
  • Purinethol
  • Metronidazole
  • Apo-Metronidazole
  • Femazole
  • Flagyl
  • Flagyl ER
  • Flagystatin
  • Helidac
  • Losec Helicopak
  • Metizol
  • MetroGel
  • MetroIV
  • Metryl
  • Neo-Tric
  • Novo-Nidazole
  • Protostat
  • Rho-Metrostatin
  • SK Metronidazole
  • Trikacide
  • Thalidomide
  • Thalomid

Latest treatments for Crohn's disease:

The following are some of the latest treatments for Crohn's disease:

Hospital statistics for Crohn's disease:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Crohn's disease:

  • 0.17% (21,634) of hospital consultant episodes were for crohn’s disease in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 82% of hospital consultant episodes for crohn’s disease required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 42% of hospital consultant episodes for crohn’s disease were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 58% of hospital consultant episodes for crohn’s disease were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 35% of hospital consultant episodes for crohn’s disease required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Crohn's disease

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Crohn's disease:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Crohn's disease, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Crohn's disease:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Crohn's disease:

Discussion of treatments for Crohn's disease:

Crohn's Disease: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Treatment for Crohn's disease depends on the location and severity of disease, complications, and response to previous treatment. The goals of treatment are to control inflammation, correct nutritional deficiencies, and relieve symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Treatment may include drugs, nutrition supplements, surgery, or a combination of these options. At this time, treatment can help control the disease, but there is no cure. (Source: excerpt from Crohn's Disease: NIDDK)

Crohn's Disease: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Drug Therapy
Most people are first treated with drugs containing mesalamine, a substance that helps control inflammation. Sulfasalazine is the most commonly used of these drugs. Patients who do not benefit from it or who cannot tolerate it may be put on other mesalamine-containing drugs, generally known as 5-ASA agents, such as Asacol, Dipentum, or Pentasa. Possible side effects of mesalamine preparations include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and headache.

Some patients take corticosteroids to control inflammation. These drugs are the most effective for active Crohn's disease, but they can cause serious side effects, including greater susceptibility to infection.

Drugs that suppress the immune system are also used to treat Crohn's disease. Most commonly prescribed are 6-mercaptopurine and a related drug, azathioprine. Immunosuppressive agents work by blocking the immune reaction that contributes to inflammation. These drugs may cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and may lower a person's resistance to infection. When patients are treated with a combination of corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs, the dose of corticosteriods can eventually be lowered. Some studies suggest that immunosuppressive drugs may enhance the effectiveness of corticosteroids.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the drug infliximab (brand name, Remicade) for the treatment of moderate to severe Crohn's disease that does not respond to standard therapies (mesalamine substances, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents) and for the treatment of open, draining fistulas. Infliximab, the first treatment approved specifically for Crohn's disease, is an anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) substance. TNF is a protein produced by the immune system that may cause the inflammation associated with Crohn's disease. Anti-TNF removes TNF from the bloodstream before it reaches the intestines, thereby preventing inflammation. Investigators will continue to study patients taking infliximab to determine its long-term safety and efficacy.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine caused by stricture, fistulas, or prior surgery. For this common problem, the doctor may prescribe one or more of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, sulfonamide, cephalosporin, tetracycline, or metronidazole.

Diarrhea and crampy abdominal pain are often relieved when the inflammation subsides, but additional medication may also be necessary. Several antidiarrheal agents could be used, including diphenoxylate, loperamide, and codeine. Patients who are dehydrated because of diarrhea will be treated with fluids and electrolytes.

Nutrition Supplementation
The doctor may recommend nutritional supplements, especially for children whose growth has been slowed. Special high-calorie liquid formulas are sometimes used for this purpose. A small number of patients may need periods of feeding by vein. This can help patients who need extra nutrition temporarily, those whose intestines need to rest, or those whose intestines cannot absorb enough nutrition from food.

Surgery
Surgery to remove part of the intestine can help Crohn's disease but cannot cure it. The inflammation tends to return next to the area of intestine that has been removed. Many Crohn's disease patients require surgery, either to relieve symptoms that do not respond to medical therapy or to correct complications such as blockage, perforation, abscess, or bleeding in the intestine.

Some people who have Crohn's disease in the large intestine need to have their entire colon removed in an operation called colectomy. A small opening is made in the front of the abdominal wall, and the tip of the ileum is brought to the skin's surface. This opening, called a stoma, is where waste exits the body. The stoma is about the size of a quarter and is usually located in the right lower part of the abdomen near the beltline. A pouch is worn over the opening to collect waste, and the patient empties the pouch as needed. The majority of colectomy patients go on to live normal, active lives.

Sometimes only the diseased section of intestine is removed and no stoma is needed. In this operation, the intestine is cut above and below the diseased area and reconnected.

Because Crohn's disease often recurs after surgery, people considering it should carefully weigh its benefits and risks compared with other treatments. Surgery may not be appropriate for everyone. People faced with this decision should get as much information as possible from doctors, nurses who work with colon surgery patients (enterostomal therapists), and other patients. Patient advocacy organizations can suggest support groups and other information resources. (Source: excerpt from Crohn's Disease: NIDDK)

Ileostomy, Colostomy, and Ileoanal Reservoir Surgery: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Sometimes treatment for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and familial adenomatous polyposis involves removing all or part of the intestines. When the intestines are removed, the body needs a new way for stool to leave the body, so the surgeon creates an opening in the abdomen for stool to pass through. The surgery to create the new opening is called ostomy. The opening is called a stoma. (Source: excerpt from Ileostomy, Colostomy, and Ileoanal Reservoir Surgery: NIDDK)

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