Management of active Crohn disease

JAMA. 2013 May 22;309(20):2150-8. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.4466.


Importance: Treatment of Crohn disease is rapidly evolving, with the induction of novel biologic therapies and newer, often more intensive treatment approaches. Knowing how to treat individual patients in this quickly changing milieu can be a challenge.

Objective: To review the diagnosis and management of moderate to severe Crohn disease, with a focus on newer treatments and goals of care.

Evidence review: MEDLINE was searched from 2000 to 2011. Additional citations were procured from references of select research and review articles. Evidence was graded using the American Heart Association level-of-evidence guidelines.

Results: Although mesalamines are still often used to treat Crohn disease, the evidence for their efficacy is lacking. Corticosteroids can be effectively used to induce remission in moderate to severe Crohn disease, but they do not maintain remission. The mainstays of treatment are immunomodulators and biologics, particularly anti-tumor necrosis factor.

Conclusion and relevance: Immunomodulators and biologics are now the preferred treatment options for Crohn disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Conference
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / classification
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Male
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha