Optimizing conventional therapy for inflammatory bowel disease

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2008 Dec;10(6):585-90. doi: 10.1007/s11894-008-0106-8.


Recently, conventional therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have not received the same amount of attention as biologic therapies, yet they remain the backbone of therapy for IBD because of their efficacy, safety, and relatively low cost. Advances in efficacy and safety continue because of modifications in drug dosing and monitoring. Higher doses of mesalamine per pill, together with once-daily dosing, may help to optimize drug delivery and patient compliance. Budesonide, an effective agent for both induction and short-term remission maintenance in Crohn's disease, is devoid of many of the toxicities common to corticosteroids. Assessments of thiopurine methyltransferase and metabolite levels are helping to fine-tune dose optimization for the thiopurines azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine. The oral calcineurin inhibitors tacrolimus and cyclosporine have been shown to have expanded roles in IBD, and methotrexate may be useful in some patients with refractory ulcerative colitis. Probiotics are showing promise for maintenance of remission in Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and pouchitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aminosalicylic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use


  • Aminosalicylic Acids
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents