Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Digestive health centre

Crohn’s disease treatment

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but treatments are available to help reduce the inflammation of the lining of the digestive system it causes, reduce symptoms and to manage any nutritional deficiencies.

Treatment might involve drugs, nutritional supplements, surgery, or a combination of these therapies.

Treatment choices depend on where the disease is located and how severe it is. They also depend on the complications associated with the disease and the way the person has responded in the past to treatment when symptoms reoccurred.

What kinds of drugs are used to treat Crohn's disease?

There are several types of drugs used to treat Crohn's disease. The first step usually involves reducing inflammation. Sulfasalazine is a type of aminosalicylic acid drug (5-aminosalicylic acid, or 5-ASA). Possible side effects of sulfasalazine and other aminosalicylic acid drugs may include:

Other 5-ASA’s include:

Corticosteroids such as prednisolone are another class of drugs that reduce inflammation. A doctor is likely to prescribe an initial large dose of prednisolone when the disease is very active. The dose is then tapered off. A problem with corticosteroids is the large number of possible side effects, some of them serious, such as an increased susceptibility to infection.

Crohn's disease may also be treated with drugs that stop the immune system from causing inflammation. Immunosuppressants decrease the activity of the immune system. Immunosuppressants prescribed for Crohn's disease include:

Side effects of immunosuppressants may include:

Biological drugs, infliximab and adalimumab, may be recommended when a person with Crohn's disease does not respond to the standard treatments of mesalazine-containing drugs, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants. These ‘biologicals’ attach to the inflammation-promoting protein, tumour-necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) preventing the inflammation that occurs in Crohn’s disease.

Other treatments that may be recommended to treat Crohn's include:

  • Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections and overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine
  • Antidiarrhoeal agents to stop diarrhoea
  • Fluid replacements to counteract dehydration
  • Nutritional supplements to provide the nutrients that may not be being absorbed properly
  • Surgery to remove diseased parts of the gut

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 08, 2014

Mind, body & soul newsletter

Looking after your
health and wellbeing.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman reading supplement bottle
Do we really need them?
man holding back
Myths & facts about back pain
hands grabbing knee
How to keep your joints healthy
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
cute baby
Simple tips to keep baby's skin healthy
79x79_hairloss_in_women.jpg
Do you know what causes hair loss?
woman exercising
Exercises for low back pain
sperm and egg
Facts to help you get pregnant
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
rash on skin
Soothe skin and prevent flare-ups
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
pregnant woman eating healthy salad
Nutrition needs before pregnancy