A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of cyclosporine therapy in active chronic Crohn's disease

N Engl J Med. 1989 Sep 28;321(13):845-50. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198909283211301.


We randomly assigned 71 patients with active chronic Crohn's disease who were resistant to or intolerant of corticosteroids to treatment with oral cyclosporine (5 to 7.5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day) or placebo for three months. Disease activity was assessed on a clinical grading scale without knowledge of the treatment given. At the end of the treatment period, 22 of the 37 cyclosporine-treated patients (59 percent) had improvement, as compared with 11 of the 34 placebo-treated patients (32 percent) (P = 0.032). During cyclosporine treatment, there was significant improvement in plasma orosomucoid levels (P = 0.0025) and the Crohn's Disease Activity Index (P = 0.00012). The effect of treatment became evident after two weeks. In the subsequent three months, during which the patients were gradually withdrawn from treatment, the improvement continued in 14 of the 37 patients (38 percent) in the cyclosporine group and in 5 of the 34 (15 percent) in the placebo group (P = 0.034). No serious adverse events were observed. We conclude that cyclosporine has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients with active chronic Crohn's disease and resistance to or intolerance of corticosteroids.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Crohn Disease / blood
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Cyclosporins / administration & dosage
  • Cyclosporins / adverse effects
  • Cyclosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orosomucoid / blood
  • Random Allocation


  • Cyclosporins
  • Orosomucoid