Primary treatment of Crohn's disease: combined antibiotics taking center stage

Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2011 Nov;7(6):751-60. doi: 10.1586/eci.11.43.


Although controversial, the use of properly chosen antibiotics in Crohn's disease appears beneficial. Evidence supporting the use of targeted antibiotic therapy comes in two forms: statistical evidence derived from meta-analyses of multiple formal studies and the documented clinical and endoscopic responses in patients treated with antibiotic combinations outside of formal clinical studies. This article reviews evidence from both categories that support the use of properly chosen antibiotic regimens in treating Crohn's disease, comments on the advantages and disadvantages of antibiotic therapy, and attempts to present a unifying hypothesis related to the role of enteric bacteria, mucosal immunity and antibiotic therapy. Relevant studies identified through a Medline search from 1976 to 2011 were assessed for inclusion by two independent observers who resolved any disagreements by consensus. References from all identified articles and recent review articles were cross-checked to ensure a thorough search. Papers were selected based on scientific merit as to which presented original contributions to the results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteria / immunology
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / microbiology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / drug effects
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Intestines / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents