Crohn's disease (CD) is a debilitating condition which still requires improvement in its management. There is a need for alternatives to anti-tumour necrosis factor drugs which are costly and beneficial in less than 50% of patients. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been used in the management of aminosalicylate- and steroid-resistant CD for more than 20 years, although the published literature available is limited. A literature search identified 17 relevant publications since 1969, including five case reports of single patients, two abstracts, three conference papers, one review paper and six book or journal articles. No randomised controlled trials of IVIG in CD have been published. A review of the evidence identified indicates that IVIG can induce a rapid and significant improvement in aminosalicylate- and steroid-resistant CD, often within days of the initial administration. Data from longer-term studies show that maintenance of remission over the medium term is also possible. These encouraging findings provide a rationale for the initiation of larger randomised controlled trials of IVIG in CD with the aim of providing further treatment options for this difficult-to-manage condition.
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