Inflammatory bowel disease

CMAJ. 1989 Jul 15;141(2):113-23; discussion 123-4.


An increasing number of options are available for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease; the selection depends on the extent and severity of the disease. Experience with sulfasalazine and corticosteroids has led to a proliferation of 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) compounds and experimentation with alternative corticosteroid preparations. Given rectally 5-ASA is particularly effective in the treatment of distal ulcerative colitis, and experience is accumulating with several oral formulations. Metronidazole is useful in some cases, and immunosuppressive agents have a role in some patients with chronic refractory disease. A variety of measures, such as nutritional therapy, surgery and psychosocial support, are important elements of therapy. Further therapeutic innovations are expected as the etiology and pathogenesis are clarified.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Aminosalicylic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Aminosalicylic Acids / adverse effects
  • Aminosalicylic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy
  • Mesalamine
  • Metronidazole / adverse effects
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Sulfasalazine / adverse effects
  • Sulfasalazine / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Aminosalicylic Acids
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Metronidazole
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Mesalamine