While Crohn’s disease can’t be cured, there are treatments that can help manage symptoms. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms and the severity of the disease can vary from patient to patient, so your treatment will be tailored to your needs. The three main components of most treatment plans are medications, diet and nutrition, and surgery.
There are several different types of medication your doctor may prescribe to help control your symptoms, minimize complications, and achieve and maintain remission. The most common are:
Metronidazole, ciprofloxacin, and other antibiotics may be used when infections occur, or to treat complications of Crohn’s disease.
- Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs)
Given either orally or rectally, these drugs work to decrease inflammation in the lining of the intestines and are usually used to treat mild to moderate Crohn’s symptoms.
- Corticosteroids (Steroids)
Given orally, as an injection, rectally, or intravenously, these medications help reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system. They are usually given to help with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease symptoms. Steroids are not intended for long-term use; they are best suited for short-term control of symptoms and disease activity. If not used appropriately, patients can become steroid dependent or resistant.
- Immune modifiers (Immunomodulators)
Given orally or injected, these medications are aimed to reduce inflammation.
- Biologic therapies (Biologics)
Given intravenously or injected, this class of drugs suppresses the immune system to reduce inflammation by targeting a specific pathway, and is usually given to people who have not responded to conventional therapy.
Diet and Nutrition.
While the symptoms of Crohn’s disease aren’t caused by what you eat, a healthy diet and good nutrition are still important for managing symptoms and for the benefit of your overall health. This may be a challenge because Crohn’s disease often affects your appetite and ability to absorb nutrients from food. Work with your doctor or dietitian to find an eating plan that’s right for you. Read this article to learn more about good nutrition and a healthy diet.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, as many as two thirds of people with Crohn’s disease will need surgery at some point. Surgery may be performed to remove a diseased section of the intestine, or to repair a fistula (hole) or obstruction. While surgery can’t cure Crohn’s disease, it often causes symptoms to disappear, sometimes for long periods of time.
Because Crohn’s is a complex disease, your treatment plan may be complex as well. If you have questions or want to learn more, talk to your doctor or contact our CVS Specialty CareTeam.