Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The condition is characterized by abdominal pain of different intensity, severe diarrhea and rarely malnutrition. Crohn's disease is rather painful diseases and can be quite debilitating. It may, in some cases, even cause life-threatening complications.
Even though there is no cure for Crohn's disease, there are plenty of medications which are capable of dealing with symptoms of the diseases and safe patients from great discomfort. Some of the drugs used in treatment of Crohn's disease may bring long-term remission (the state of absence of disease activity).
Crohn's Disease Treatment
The goal of the treatment is to reduce, if not completely eliminate, inflammation of the inner lying of the affected portions of the gastrointestinal tract and this way alleviate symptoms patients have to deal with. The treatment is predominantly medicamentous although severe progression as well as some complications require surgical management.Anti-inflammatory Medications
These drugs represent the cornerstone of treatment for Crohn's disease. Anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed to people suffering from Crohn's disease include sulfasalazine, Mesalamine and corticosteroids.
Sulfasalazine is not efficient in all patients. Still, it is recommended in patients in whom the disease affects the colon. The drug has many side effects and is never prescribed to people with sulfa allergy. Mesalamine has fewer side effects comparing to sulfasalazine. It is applied rectally (in a form of enema or suppository) if the disease affects the rectum. In case the rest of the gastrointestinal tract is affected, the drug is taken in a form of tablet.
Corticosteroids are medications highly efficient against inflammation of any kind. However, prolonged use of these drugs as well as higher doses are associated with numerous side effects.
All the previously mentioned drugs are prescribed to people with moderate to severe form of Crohn's disease and if they do not work, patients require more potent medications.
Immune System Suppressors
There are many drugs which can reduce inflammation by reducing the reaction of the immune system. Some of them are azathioprine, infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, Cyclosporine, methotrexate and natalizumab.
These dugs are very effective in reduction/elimination of inflammation. Still, in spite of being successful in eliminating symptoms and signs of Crohn's disease, immunosuppressants have many side effects. Because of that during the treatment all patients undergo invasive and thorough monitoring.
Antibiotics are also a part of symptomatic treatment of Crohn's disease. They are prescribed in order to help healing of fistulas and abscesses. Most commonly prescribed antibiotics in patients suffering from Crohn's disease are metronidazole and Ciprofloxacin.