Systematic review of the evidence base for the medical treatment of paediatric inflammatory bowel disease

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Feb;50 Suppl 1:S14-34. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3181c92caa.


Objective: To systematically review the evidence base for the medical (pharmaceutical and nutritional) treatment of paediatric inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: Key clinical questions were formulated regarding different treatment modalities used in the treatment of paediatric (not adult-onset) IBD, in particular the induction and maintenance of remission in Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. Electronic searches were performed from January 1966 to December 2006, using the electronic search strategy of the Cochrane IBD group. Details of papers were entered on a dedicated database, reviewed in abstract form, and disseminated in full for appraisal. Clinical guidelines were appraised using the AGREE instrument and all other relevant papers were appraised using Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network methodology, with evidence levels given to all papers.

Results: A total of 6285 papers were identified, of which 1255 involved children; these were entered on the database. After critical appraisal, only 103 publications met our criteria as evidence on medical treatment of paediatric IBD. We identified 3 clinical guidelines, 1 systematic review, and 16 randomised controlled trials; all were of variable quality, with none getting the highest methodological scores.

Conclusions: This is the first comprehensive review of the evidence base for the treatment of paediatric IBD, highlighting the paucity of trials of high methodological quality. As a result, the development of clinical guidelines for managing children and young people with IBD must be consensus based, informed by the best-available evidence from the paediatric literature and high-quality data from the adult IBD literature, together with the clinical expertise and multidisciplinary experience of paediatric IBD experts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diet therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Maintenance Chemotherapy
  • Mesalamine / therapeutic use
  • Remission Induction
  • Sulfasalazine / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Mesalamine