health care  
All about inflammatory bowel diseases causes of inflammatory bowel diseases symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease treatment of inflammatory bowel diseas inflammatory bowel disease medications Crohn's disease types of Crohn's disease causes of Crohn's disease symptoms of Crohn's disease complications of Crohn's disease diagnosis of Crohn's disease treatment for Crohn's disease medications to cure Crohn's disease Crohn's disease surgery Crohn's disease diet Crohn's disease in children Crohn's disease and pregnancy women ulcerative colitis types of ulcerative colitis causes of ulcerative colitis symptoms of ulcerative colitis complications of ulcerative colitis diagnosis of ulcerative colitis treatments for ulcerative colitis ulcerative colitis medications surgery to treat ulcerative colitis collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis

What medications cure Crohn's disease?

Effective medical and surgical treatment is available for Crohn's disease. It is particularly important to maintain good nutrition and health with a balanced diet, adequate exercise, and a positive, upbeat attitude. Most people have mild to moderate disease and are treated with medications containing mesalamine. These medications differ based on what parts of the bowel they treat. They include sulfasalazine, Asacol®, Pentasa® and Dipentum®. They are usually well tolerated, and

most have no significant side effects. Patients may experience nausea, headache and diarrhea. In cases where disease in the rectum is causing symptoms, enema or suppository therapy with mesalamine (Rowasa®) is also helpful. Mesalamine is useful both to achieve and maintain remission.

5-ASA Compounds: A number of medications used to treat Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have as their active ingredient 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), an agent that inhibits substances in the immune system that cause inflammation. These include sulfasalazine (trade name Azulfadine), a compound that has been used for more than half a century. Sulfasalazine is a so-called "sulfa drug." The sulfapyradine (an antibacterial organic sulfur compound) in sulfasalazine causes a number of side effects, which range from mild to severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting. These are usually dose-related, although some people cannot tolerate the medication at all. Azulfadine can be purchased in an enteric-coated tablet, which (for many people) reduces the incidence of nausea caused by uncoated tablets. For years, scientists sought ways to deliver 5-ASA without the sulfa-drug side effects.

Steroids: Steroids are powerful, potentially toxic drugs that reduce inflammation and suppress the body's immune system. Prednisone and prednisolone are the most commonly used steroids for treatment of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. While they are very useful, steroids can produce a number of side effects ranging from annoying to dangerous. Annoying side effects include puffiness in the face, acne, insomnia, tremors, night sweats, weight gain, and mood disturbances. Dangerous side effects include increased blood pressure, osteoporosis, severe depression, and even psychosis. Long-term steroid use can cause cataracts and glaucoma. Steroids are used to treat moderate-to-severe symptoms during a flare-up. These drugs have not been shown to be beneficial as a maintenance therapy, and individuals are weaned off of steroids as quickly as possible after remission is achieved.

Immunomodulating Drugs: Immunosuppressives (drugs that suppress the immune system) are also used to treat Crohn's disease. These medications block the inflammation that results in Crohn's disease. They should only be prescribed by physicians with experience in their use. Immunosuppressive drugs are powerful compounds that override the body's natural immune defenses. They are widely known for their use in conjunction with organ transplants to reduce the possibility of rejection. The most commonly prescribed are 6-mercaptopurine (Purinethol®) and a related drug, azathioprine (Imuran®). They are very effective but may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, liver problems or pancreatitis. Long-term they work by suppressing the bone marrow and, as a result, the immune response. Because of these potential side effects, frequent monitoring, including blood tests and clinic visits, are important. These medications take on average 12 to 16 weeks to work. Usually the physician will induce remission first with another medication (i.e., prednisone) and maintain remission with either azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine. Despite these limitations, these medications are useful because they can allow patients to come off corticosteroids. Most patients tolerate them well. Methotrexate is another immunosuppressive that is sometimes used, but it also can have significant side effects, including lung, liver and blood problems.

Antibiotics: Recent research points to bacteria as an important element in Crohn's disease. This may involve bacterial agents triggering the inflammatory process, or a reaction against the normal bacterial that live in the intestine. In addition, when the ileocecal valve is damaged, as often occurs in ileitis or ileocolitis, there may be a backup of contents from the colon into the small intestine, leading to a condition known as bacterial overgrowth. For these reasons, antibiotic treatment is becoming increasingly common in Crohn's disease. Broad-spectrum antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), clarithromycin (Biaxin), and Ampicillin are often used in a short course of treatment. The most commonly used antibiotic is metronidazole (Flagyl), usually given for four to eight weeks during flare-ups to induce remission (but not as a maintenance therapy). Flagyl also sometimes helps to heal fistulas. Flagyl produces annoying side effects such as a metallic taste and loss of appetite. No alcohol may be consumed when taking Flagyl.

Infliximab: Infliximab is used for disease that does not respond to standard treatments, individuals who are unable to be weaned off of steroids successfully, promoting healing of stubborn fistulas Infliximab was engineered through the use of both mouse and human cells to act as both a carrier of chemicals called cytokines-proteins that regulate the immune response-and as an antagonist to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-Alpha, meaning it reacts against TNF-Alpha. TNF-Alpha is a major component of the inflammatory process. Two other anti-TNF medications are currently in clinical trials in individuals with Crohn's disease, as well as those who live with two other diseases generally thought to be autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

More information on inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease)

What are the inflammatory bowel diseases? - Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disorder that causes an inflamed and swollen digestive tract or intestinal wall.
What causes inflammatory bowel diseases? - The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not known. Chronic inflammation present in the intestines of persons with both forms of IBD damages the bowel.
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases? - Symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases can include chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramps or pain, fever, and blood or mucus in the stool.
How is inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed? - To make a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, a doctor must first exclude other possible causes of inflammation.
What're the treatments for inflammatory bowel disease? - Inflammatory bowel disease is treated with medication, exercise, and sometimes, surgery. Treatments for IBD are directed against the inflammation in the bowel.
What're the medications for inflammatory bowel disease? - Medications for inflammatory bowel disease include sulfasalazine, corticosteroids, immunosuppressives, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
What is Crohn's disease? - Crohn's Disease is a chronic illness that causes irritation in the digestive tract. Crohn's disease occurs in the last portion of intestine (ileum).
What types of Crohn's disease are there? - There are five subtypes of Crohn's disease, distinguished by the gastrointestinal area in which the disease occurs.
What causes Crohn's disease? - The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. There is now evidence of a genetic link as Crohn's frequently shows up in a family group.
What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? - The symptoms of Crohn's disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.
What are the complications of Crohn's disease? - Common complications of Crohn's disease include the development of an intestinal obstruction, pus-filled pockets of infection, and abnormal connecting channels.
How is Crohn's disease diagnosed? - The diagnosis of Crohn's disease is suspected in patients with fever, abdominal pain and tenderness, diarrhea with or without bleeding, and anal diseases.
What're the treatments for Crohn's disease? - Treatment for Crohn's disease is mainly symptomatic. Medications are very effective at improving the symptoms of Crohn's disease.
What medications cure Crohn's disease? - Medications for Crohn's disease sulfasalazine, Asacol, Pentasa and Dipentum. Mesalamine is useful both to achieve and maintain remission.
What's the surgery for Crohn's disease treatment? - Surgery to remove part of the intestine can help Crohn's disease but cannot cure it. The most used operation in Crohn disease is removing the diseased part of the intestine.
What Crohn's disease diet is suggested? - Diet may have to be restricted based on symptoms or complications of Crohn's disease. No particular food has ever been implicated in causing Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease in children - Crohn's disease is most often diagnosed in young adulthood. Children facing Crohn's disease have significant self-image issues to deal with.
Crohn's disease and pregnancy women - Women with Crohn's disease who are considering having children can be comforted to know that the vast majority of such pregnancies will result in normal children.
What is ulcerative colitis? - Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the bowel, that usually affects the distal end of the large intestine and rectum.
What types of ulcerative colitis are there? - Doctors categorize ulcerative colitis by the amount of colon involved. Variability of symptoms reflects differences in the extent of disease and the intensity of inflammation.
What causes ulcerative colitis? - The cause of ulcerative colitis is not known, but heredity and an overactive immune response in the intestine may be contributing factors.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis? - The symptoms vary according to the extent of the disease. The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.
What are the complications of ulcerative colitis? - Bleeding, the most common complication of ulcerative colitis, often causes iron deficiency anemia.
How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed? - Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is suspected based on the symptoms that a patient is experiencing. The most important method of diagnosis is endoscopy.
What are the treatments for ulcerative colitis? - Treatment of ulcerative colitis depends on the location and severity of a patient's disease, the presence of complications.
What ulcerative colitis medications are available? - Medications for ulcerative colitis include 5-ASA Compounds, anticholinergic drugs, steroids, and immunosuppressive drugs.
What surgery treats ulcerative colitis? - Surgery for ulcerative colitis involves removal of the entire colon, regardless of whether all or only a portion of the colon is diseased.
Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis - Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis are chronic diseases in which certain kinds of white blood cells infiltrate the lining of the large intestine. 
Digestive health Mainpage

Topics in digestive disorders

Signs and symptoms of digestive diseases
Anal and rectal disorders
Diverticular disease
Inflammatory bowel diseases
Peptic disorders (Stomach disease)
Emergencies of digestive system
Liver diseases
Irritable bowel syndrome
Diagnostic tests for digestive disorders

Featured articles

Crohn's disease
Ulcerative colitis
Peptic ulcer
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Liver transplant
Colon cancer
Stomach cancer
Colorectal cancer (bowel cancer)

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005