Medical management of chronic inflammatory bowel disease

Baillieres Clin Gastroenterol. 1994 Mar;8(1):133-48. doi: 10.1016/s0950-3528(06)80023-0.


In the absence of a definitive cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the aim of therapy must be to induce and maintain clinical remission at acceptable cost to the patient in terms of adverse effects. Despite the differences in their pathogenesis, the first-line treatments for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are still based upon combinations of amino-salicylic acid derivatives and corticosteroids, although the use of enteral nutrition regimes is becoming increasingly widespread in Crohn's disease. In this chapter we attempt to provide reasonably didactic guidance for the management of most cases of chronic inflammatory bowel disease. However, we have tried to go beyond this brief, motivated by the recent explosion in knowledge of inflammatory mechanisms, to suggest a rational approach to the choice of newer and less well tested therapeutic approaches in the affected child who is not responding effectively. The relative failure of cyclosporine therapy in Crohn's disease has been particularly disappointing in view of its ideal theoretical suitability. However, the encouraging early reports of treatment with anti-CD4 and anti-TNF alpha monoclonals suggest that the shift from broad spectrum immunomodulation to the targeting of critical components of the inflammatory cascade may yet field important dividends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy
  • Crohn Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*