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Drug Therapy:

Drugs that have mesalamine as a main ingredient are often first prescribed to a patient with Crohn's disease. Mesalamine helps control inflammation. Sulfasalazine is the most commonly used of these drugs. However, not everyone can handle such a drug and need an alternative drug containing mesalamine like Dipentum, Pentasa, or Asacol. Possible side effects of mesalamine preparations include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and headache.

Patients taking corticosteroids to control inflammation face a trade-off between effective treatment and serious side effects. Corticosteroids increase the likelihood of being getting infections.

Crohn's disease is also treated with drugs that target and suppress the immune system. Common prescriptions are 6-mercaptopurine and azathioprine. Immunosuppressive agents block the immune reaction that causes inflammation. These drugs may have side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, the drugs may lower a person's resistance to infection. The combination of immunosuppressive drugs and corticosteroids allows the dosage of corticosteroids to be reduced over time. There is evidence that immunosuppressive drugs can increase the effectiveness of corticosteroids.

Infliximad is a recently approved drug (known by brand as Remicade) that treats Crohn's disease patients with moderate to severe cases. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only allows its use as a last resort. The patient must receive standard treatment with mesalamine, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents first. If these drugs are not effective, then infliximad can be used. The purpose of the drug infliximad is to prevent inflammation with anti-tumor necrosis factor substances.

Antibiotics treat cases where bacteria in the small intestine has grown too much. This is a common problem from stricture, fistulas, and previous surgeries. The doctor is likely to recommend ampicillin, cephalosporin, metronidazole, sulfonamide, or tetracycline.

Common symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain can be treated with inflammation subsides. Antidiarhheal agents like codeine, diphenoxylate, and loperamide may be prescribed. Fluids and electrolytes are often given to patients who feel too dehydrated from diarrhea.

For more details about Drug Therapy see:
Medication for Crohn's Disease

5-ASA (5-Aminosalicylate)
Antibiotics for Crohn's Disease
Bile-salt Binders
Bulk Formers
Immunosuppressive Drugs
Steroids for Crohn's Disease
Sulfasalasinze for Crohn's Disease

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