Objective: Intolerance to azathioprine is a rare but important problem in treating chronically active Crohn's disease. We performed this study to evaluate mycophenolate mofetil as an alternative immunosuppressive therapy for patients with Crohn's disease who did not tolerate azathioprine.
Methods: Four patients with highly active perianal Crohn's disease and two patients with chronically active, steroid-dependent Crohn's disease were included. All patients consumed 2 g/day of mycophenolate mofetil for a median of 8 months (range, 6-12 months). Disease activity was measured by the Perianal Crohn's Disease Activity Index in patients with perianal disease and by the Crohn's Disease Activity Index in patients with chronically active Crohn's disease.
Results: Azathioprine-induced side effects disappeared after the drug was discontinued. All patients improved during treatment with mycophenolate mofetil, as shown by a remarkable reduction in the respective clinical scores. Five patients showed no side effects during treatment with mycophenolate mofetil. After 4 months' treatment one patient developed diarrhea that was probably not due to mycophenolate mofetil.
Conclusion: Mycophenolate mofetil could be an alternative therapy to azathioprine in patients with Crohn's disease.