What is Crohn's disease?
What can it mean for you?
Crohn's disease is a chronic and unpredictable disease.
Crohn's disease belongs to a larger group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is associated with inflammation of the digestive tract, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which runs from the mouth to the anus, and includes the stomach and intestines. It more commonly affects the end of the small intestine and the large intestine.
- Crohn's disease symptoms and complications are unpredictable—you may experience almost no symptoms, then have a sudden flare-up. Or you could begin to experience symptoms every day. Symptoms can be similar to other GI disorders. Because of this, Crohn's can be difficult to diagnose and then to manage
- While there’s no cure for Crohn's, you may reduce its symptoms through the use of medications.
Biologic medications are used when conventional medications have not worked well enough.
Crohn's is often classified as an immune-mediated inflammatory disease.
Inflammation occurs inside your GI tract because of a long-lasting and abnormal response by your immune system. The inflammation in the GI tract can cause painful and unpredictable symptoms. These can vary from person to person.
There are 5 types of Crohn's disease that affect different locations within the GI tract. Learn about each.
Each type of Crohn's disease has its own specific set of symptoms.
Click on circles in the above illustration for a closer look.
How do you get Crohn's disease?
The exact cause is unknown.
Even though the cause of Crohn's is not fully understood, it's thought to be a result of a combination of factors:
- About 5% to 20% of patients have a close relative with either Crohn's or ulcerative colitis
- A person's risk of having Crohn's is about 10X greater if they have a relative with it
- If the relative with Crohn's is a brother or sister, a person’s risk of having it is 30X greater
- While several genes were found to be associated with Crohn's, many people who carry these genes do not develop Crohn's
- Researchers believe substances in the intestines are mistaken for invading substances (antigens)
- To combat these antigens, your immune system causes temporary inflammation, which is reduced as you regain health
- With Crohn's, inflammation can persist long after your immune system should have finished its job
- Immune responses in the GI tract can be due to exposure to foreign substances in the environment
- Inflammation can also be triggered by microorganisms and intestinal bacteria
- Crohn’s is more common in urban than in rural areas
- It‘s more common in northern than in southern climates
- Certain foods can aggravate symptoms in some people, but there have been no studies to suggest that diet can either cause or treat Crohn's
- There's no specific diet that patients with the disease should follow (although it's always advisable to eat a balanced diet)
- There's no convincing evidence that Crohn's results from food allergies
Stay informed. It can help you ask the right questions.
While there are many medications available to treat moderate to severe Crohn's disease, the amount of treatment information can feel overwhelming—whether you are newly diagnosed or are a long-time patient.
That’s why being well informed is an important first step toward finding a treatment that will be effective for you. Learning about your options and setting goals for your treatment can help you and your doctor make the best decisions about your care.Learn About How to Talk to Your Doctor
Your safety is important to us.
Learn about our Important Safety Information.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
ABOUT HUMIRA® (adalimumab)1
What is the most important information I should know about HUMIRA?
You should discuss the potential benefits and risks of HUMIRA with your doctor. HUMIRA is a TNF blocker medicine that can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. You should not start taking HUMIRA if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay.
Serious infections have happened in people taking HUMIRA. These serious infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some people have died from these infections. Your doctor should test you for TB before starting HUMIRA, and check you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with HUMIRA. If your doctor feels you are at risk, you may be treated with medicine for TB.
Cancer. For children and adults taking TNF blockers, including HUMIRA, the chance of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase. There have been cases of unusual cancers in children, teenagers, and young adults using TNF blockers. Some people have developed a rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma. This type of cancer often results in death. If using TNF blockers including HUMIRA, your chance of getting two types of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell) may increase. These types are generally not life-threatening if treated; tell your doctor if you have a bump or open sore that doesn’t heal.
What should I tell my doctor BEFORE starting HUMIRA?
Tell your doctor about all of your health conditions, including if you:
- Have an infection, are being treated for infection, or have symptoms of an infection
- Get a lot of infections or infections that keep coming back
- Have diabetes
- Have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB, or were born in, lived in, or traveled where there is more risk for getting TB
- Live or have lived in an area (such as the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys) where there is an increased risk for getting certain kinds of fungal infections, such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, or blastomycosis
- Have or have had hepatitis B
- Are scheduled for major surgery
- Have or have had cancer
- Have numbness or tingling or a nervous system disease such as multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Have or had heart failure
- Have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine. HUMIRA patients may receive vaccines, except for live vaccines
- Are allergic to rubber, latex, or any HUMIRA ingredients
- Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed
Also tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. You should not take HUMIRA with ORENCIA® (abatacept), KINERET® (anakinra), REMICADE® (infliximab), ENBREL® (etanercept), CIMZIA® (certolizumab pegol), or SIMPONI® (golimumab). Tell your doctor if you have ever used RITUXAN® (rituximab), IMURAN® (azathioprine), or PURINETHOL® (mercaptopurine, 6-MP).
What should I watch for AFTER starting HUMIRA?
HUMIRA can cause serious side effects, including:
- Serious infections. These include TB and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Symptoms related to TB include a cough, low-grade fever, weight loss, or loss of body fat and muscle.
- Hepatitis B infection in carriers of the virus. Symptoms include muscle aches, feeling very tired, dark urine, skin or eyes that look yellow, little or no appetite, vomiting, clay-colored bowel movements, fever, chills, stomach discomfort, and skin rash.
- Allergic reactions. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of your face, eyes, lips, or mouth.
- Nervous system problems. Signs and symptoms include numbness or tingling, problems with your vision, weakness in your arms or legs, and dizziness.
- Blood problems. Symptoms include a fever that does not go away, bruising or bleeding very easily, or looking very pale.
- Heart failure (new or worsening). Symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling of your ankles or feet, and sudden weight gain.
- Immune reactions including a lupus-like syndrome. Symptoms include chest discomfort or pain that does not go away, shortness of breath, joint pain, or rash on your cheeks or arms that gets worse in the sun.
- Liver problems. Symptoms include feeling very tired, skin or eyes that look yellow, poor appetite or vomiting, and pain on the right side of your stomach (abdomen).
- Psoriasis (new or worsening). Symptoms include red scaly patches or raised bumps that are filled with pus.
Call your doctor or get medical care right away if you develop any of the above symptoms.
Common side effects of HUMIRA include injection site reactions (redness, rash, swelling, itching, or bruising), upper respiratory infections (sinus infections), headaches, rash, and nausea. These are not all of the possible side effects with HUMIRA. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Remember, tell your doctor right away if you have an infection or symptoms of an infection, including:
- Fever, sweats, or chills
- Muscle aches
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in phlegm
- Weight loss
- Warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body
- Diarrhea or stomach pain
- Burning when you urinate
- Urinating more often than normal
- Feeling very tired
HUMIRA is given by injection under the skin.
This is the most important information to know about HUMIRA. For more information, talk to your health care provider.
HUMIRA is a prescription medicine used:
- To reduce the signs and symptoms of:
- Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
- Moderate to severe polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in children 2 years of age and older. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines.
- Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adults.
- Moderate to severe Crohn's disease (CD) and to achieve and maintain clinical remission in adults who have not responded well to conventional treatments. HUMIRA is also used to reduce signs and symptoms and to achieve clinical remission in these adults who have lost response to or are unable to tolerate infliximab.
- Moderate to severe Crohn's disease (CD) and to achieve and maintain clinical remission in children 6 years of age and older when certain other treatments have not worked well enough.
- In adults, to help get moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) under control (induce remission) and keep it under control (sustain remission) when certain other medicines have not worked well enough. It is not known if HUMIRA is effective in people who stopped responding to or could not tolerate anti-TNF medicines.
- To treat moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis (Ps) in adults who are ready for systemic therapy or phototherapy, and are under the care of a doctor who will decide if other systemic therapies are less appropriate.