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Crohn's Disease (cont.)

Medications

Medicines usually are the treatment of choice for Crohn's disease. They can control or prevent inflammation in the intestines and help:

  • Relieve symptoms.
  • Promote healing of damaged tissues.
  • Put the disease into remission and keep it from flaring up again.
  • Postpone the need for surgery.

Medication Choices

The choice of medicine usually depends on the severity of the disease, the part of the intestines that is affected, and whether complications are present. Medicines that are used for Crohn's disease include:

  • Aminosalicylates (such as sulfasalazine or mesalamine).
  • Antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin or metronidazole). Antibiotics are used to treat fistulas.
  • Corticosteroids (such as budesonide or prednisone). Corticosteroids usually stop symptoms and put the disease in remission. But they are not used as long-term treatment to keep symptoms from coming back.
  • Medicines that suppress the immune system (such as azathioprine, mercaptopurine, and methotrexate). These may be needed to help keep the disease in remission.
  • Biologics (such as infliximab or adalimumab). These may be used for people who develop abnormal connections between the intestines and other organs (fistulas) or who have severe Crohn's disease that does not respond to other medicines.
  • Cyclosporine and intravenous (IV) corticosteroids may be needed for severe cases.

What To Think About

Most of these medicines also can be used in children.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about which medicines might be okay to take for Crohn's disease. Sometimes, severe Crohn's disease can harm your baby more than the medicines you are taking to keep it under control. Some medicines, though, should never be taken when you are pregnant. Your doctor can tell you which medicines are okay for you while you are pregnant and nursing.

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