One of the most common forms of crohn’s disease treatment is medication therapy. There are several classes of drugs that can help induce and maintain remission of symptoms.

Aminosalicylates: Drugs like mesalamine (Asacol, Pentasa) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) are classified as aminosalicylates. They help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and are often used as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate Crohn’s disease. These medications are taken orally and can induce remission in 30-40% of patients. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and headache.

Corticosteroids: For moderate to severe active Crohn’s disease, corticosteroids like prednisone are frequently prescribed. They work to rapidly reduce inflammation. Short-term use has been shown to induce remission. However, long-term steroid treatment is not recommended due to potential side effects involving metabolic changes, weight gain, and osteoporosis.

Immunomodulators: Drugs in the immunomodulatory class help regulate the body’s immune system response. Common options include azathioprine (Imuran), 6-mercaptopurine (Purinethol), and methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall). These medications take 4-8 weeks to achieve the desired effects and help maintain remission over the long run. Side effects can include nausea, pancreatitis, and potential increased infection risk.

Biologics: For patients who do not respond well to or cannot tolerate other therapies, biologic agents may be prescribed. Biologics target specific components of the immune system that are believed to play a role in Crohn’s Disease Treatment. Some common biologic options are infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), vedolizumab (Entyvio), and ustekinumab (Stelara). While highly effective at inducing and maintaining remission, biologics carry some risks like headache, respiratory infections, and increased susceptibility to certain cancers with long-term use. Close monitoring is required.

Nutritional Therapy

For some patients, dietary and nutritional changes are an important part of managing crohn’s disease treatment symptoms and promoting healing. Some options to discuss with your healthcare provider include:

Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN): During an active flare, consuming liquid feedings that provide full nutritional requirements through a feeding tube or orally for 6-8 weeks can help induce remission. This “nutritional therapy” excludes all normal foods.

Low-Residue Diet: During an active flare, eating soft, easily digestible foods that are low in fiber may help allow the digestive tract to rest and reduce inflammation. Foods to focus on include white rice, applesauce, bananas, boiled potatoes without skin, lean meats, mild cheeses and yogurts.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Even when not flaring, following an overall anti-inflammatory dietary pattern focused on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, soluble fiber-rich foods like oats, omega-3 fatty acids from fish, and antioxidant-rich spices may promote gut healing over the long run. Processed and red meats, sugar, alcohol and caffeine are best limited.

Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation: Due to potential for malabsorption during active inflammation, your doctor may recommend supplements including a multivitamin, calcium + vitamin D, and sometimes zinc. Ensuring adequate nutrition is important for health and treatment response.

Get more insights on Crohn's Disease Treatment