Indication for and an evaluation of enteral nutrition in Crohn's disease differ between Japan and western countries.
Purpose: Japanese results are reported and differences are discussed.
Results: Enteral nutrition with an elemental diet is first-line therapy for active Crohn's disease in Japan. The remission induction rate of elemental diet therapy is approximately 80 percent, which is superior to steroids. Furthermore, elemental diet therapy induces radiographic and endoscopic remission. On the other hand, meta-analysis from randomized, controlled trials showed steroids to be more effective than enteral nutrition in western countries. The differences are considered to be the result of such differences as therapeutic duration of enteral nutrition, the composition of enteral diets used, criteria for remission, the quality of life score of a long-term fast with a nasogastric tube, medical care, and health insurance system. The main mechanism of the therapeutic effect of elemental diet is speculated to be attributable to removal of food antigens and decreases of secretion and motility (bowel rest) by very low fat. To prevent relapse and rehospitalization, home enteral nutrition is now used widely in Japan. The therapeutic effect is observed in patients with ileal involvement, and more than 1,200 kcal/day is more effective than a lower amount.
Conclusion: Most Japanese studies were open-labeled, uncontrolled trials. We should conduct randomized, controlled trials comparing enteral nutrition with steroids during the active stage of Crohn's disease and home enteral nutrition with drugs in maintaining remission and investigate the therapeutic effect, quality of life, and costs.