Elemental diet as primary treatment of acute Crohn's disease: a controlled trial

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1984 Jun 23;288(6434):1859-62. doi: 10.1136/bmj.288.6434.1859.


Acute exacerbations of Crohn's disease are usually treated with prednisolone or potentially more toxic immunosuppressive drugs or by surgery. In pilot studies replacing the normal diet by a protein free elemental diet also induced remission. A controlled trial was therefore conducted in which 21 patients acutely ill with exacerbations of Crohn's disease were randomised to receive either prednisolone 0.75 mg/kg/day or an elemental diet (Vivonex) for four weeks. Assessment at four and 12 weeks showed that the patients treated with the elemental diet had improved as much as and by some criteria more than the steroid treated group. Elemental diet is a safe and effective treatment for acute Crohn's disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Crohn Disease / diet therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Food, Formulated*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Random Allocation


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Prednisolone