One of the main goals for Crohn's
disease treatment is to achieve and then maintain remission (few or no symptoms). To realize this goal, some treatments are aimed at
inflammation that causes Crohn's symptoms; others specifically treat infection
or relieve symptoms as they occur.
A variety of treatments are available to treat
Conventional treatment options
Conventional therapies have been traditionally used to relieve symptoms and decrease inflammation. As a Crohn's patient, you may have
tried one or more of the following treatment options, because one type of medication
does not always work for every patient:
- Aminosalicylates: Aminosalicylates are a group of medicines that
contain 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) to help reduce mild-to-moderate inflammation
in the digestive tract. Common drugs that fall under this category include those
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory
drugs for moderate to severe disease activity that are used to suppress the immune
system anywhere in the body and are to be used until symptoms are controlled, and
then usually tapered off. Some commonly prescribed corticosteroids include prednisone
(Deltasone®), methylprednisolone (Medrol®),
hydrocortisone (Cortef®), and budesonide (Entocort® EC).
- Immunomodulators: Immunomodulators reduce inflammation in moderate
to severe Crohn's disease and are often used as maintenance (long-term) treatment.
Some commonly prescribed immunomodulators include 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP, Purinethol®), azathioprine (Imuran®, Azasan®), and methotrexate (MTX,
A rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, often resulting in
death has developed in some people taking HUMIRA along with azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat infections that may come along with complications such as abscesses
or inflammation around the anus (perianal involvement). Commonly prescribed antibiotics
include metronidazole (Flagyl®) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro®).
- Anti-diarrheal medications (over-the-counter): Some patients
may rely on over-the-counter medications like Imodium®
(loperamide) to control their symptoms. While these medications can offer temporary
relief, they do not treat Crohn's disease specifically and are not intended for
long-term or frequent use.
Biologic treatment options
Some patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease may be able to achieve their
with conventional treatments, but some patients do not. Some
biologic treatments were created specifically to target a protein in the body, called tumor necrosis factor or TNF,
to help reduce the inflammation of Crohn's disease.
HUMIRA is a prescription biologic medication approved by the FDA to reduce signs and symptoms, and to achieve and maintain clinical remission
in adults with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who have not responded well to conventional treatments, and in these adults
who have also lost response to or are unable to tolerate infliximab.