Crohns Disease Medications | Samar Borhani, PharmD | RxEconsult

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Crohns Disease Medications Category: GI (Ulcers, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis) by - June 27, 2014 | Views: 68155 | Likes: 0 | Comment: 0  

Crohn’s disease is a chronic disorder that involves inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect the entire GI tract but most commonly the ileum (the end portion of the small intestine) or colon (first section of large intestine) are involved. About 700,000 people in America suffer from Crohn's disease and it mostly affects people between the ages of 15 and 35.

A colonoscopy is used for diagnosing Crohn's disease. In Crohn’s disease, the ileum becomes very narrow and the bowel wall becomes thick and inflamed. Genetics and the immune system are involved in the development of Crohn’s disease. Diet and stress aggravate Crohn’s disease. 

Some of the common symptoms of Crohn's disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, reduced appetite/weight loss, and bloody stool. Here is a review of 6 types of prescription medications used for treatment if Chron's disease.

1. 5-Aminosalicylate Acids (5-ASA)

5-aminosalicylate acids are the most commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of mild to moderate Crohn’s disease. These drugs are mainly used to treat ulcerative colitis and are not FDA approved for treatment of Crohn's disease. They are not as effective as steroids. They are anti-inflammatory agents that reduce inflammation at the lining of the GI tract. 

5-ASA reduces inflammation in the colon by blocking enzymes called cyclooxygenase. Cyclooxygenase enzymes are involved in the formation of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that produce inflammation and pain. By blocking cyclooxygenase, 5-ASA drugs reduce production of prostaglandins, leading to reduced pain and inflammation in people with Crohn's disease. 

The aminosalicylate agents used in treatment of mild to moderate Crohn's disease are:

  • Pentasa (mesalamine)
  • Azulfidine (sulfasalazine) 
  • Rowasa (mesalamine)
  • olsalazine (Dipentum)
  • balsalazide (Colazal, Giazo)

Side effects of 5-ASA drugs include: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite



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