1. Joint pain is a frequent manifestation of Crohn's disease. Budesonide controlled ileal release (CIR) is a predominantly topically acting glucocorticosteroid, which is effective in treating active ileal or ileocaecal Crohn's disease. 2. Therefore, it was of interest to study the effect of this predominantly topically acting therapy on the treatment of an extraintestinal symptom of Crohn's disease by analysing data collected from budesonide CIR (Entocort; Astra Draco AB, Lund, Sweden) trials. 3. Three large studies of budesonide CIR treatment in active Crohn's disease provided a reliable source of clinical data. Of the 611 patients treated in the prospective double-blind controlled trials, 291 had joint pain (arthritis/arthralgia) at entry, which was recorded as part of the Crohn's Disease Activity Index. Statistical analysis was based on all patients treated, provided that the patient had joint pain at the start of treatment. 4. Daily oral budesonide CIR (9mg) resulted in clinical remission of joint pain in 74% (95% confidence intervals (CI) 67-82%) of patients. This outcome was nearly twice as good as placebo (41%; 95% CI 34-57%) and as good as the outcome effected by daily oral prednisolone (40mg; 72%; 95% CI 60-84%). The favourable response to budesonide CIR (9 mg) did not correlate with glucocorticosteroid-associated side effects or with adrenal suppression, which were half those in the prednisolone (40 mg/day) group. 5. The favourable outcome may relate to restitution of normal intestinal immune function.