Gastrointestinal disorders

Crohn's disease

(IBD)

  • Also known as
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

About Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease causes inflammation of the digestive system. It is one of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's can affect any area from the mouth to the anus. It often affects the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum.

The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. It may be due to an abnormal reaction by the body's immune system. It also seems to run in some families. It most commonly starts between the ages of 13 and 30.

The most common symptoms are pain in the abdomen and diarrhea. Other symptoms include

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Your doctor will diagnose Crohn's disease with a physical exam, lab tests, imaging tests, and a colonoscopy.

Crohn's can cause complications, such as intestinal blockages, ulcers in the intestine, and problems getting enough nutrients. People with Crohn's can also have joint pain and skin problems. Children with the disease may have growth problems.

There is no cure for Crohn's. Treatment can help control symptoms, and may include medicines, nutrition supplements, and/or surgery. Some people have long periods of remission, when they are free of symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Crohn's disease
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Top Medications for Crohn's disease according to our users

Button Group. All currently active

All Medications for Crohn's disease

Corticosteroid

  • Budesonide
    Prescription only

    Uceris (Budesonide) helps treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but you can’t take it for long because of its serious side effects.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Anti-inflammatory, Immunosuppressant > Corticosteroid

    • Medrol
      (Methylprednisolone)
      Prescription only

      Medrol (Methylprednisolone) is corticosteroid available in many forms (oral, injectable) that's great for controlling the unwanted symptoms from your immune responses and will make you feel better. There are lots of side effects but most of are tolerable or can be managed.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill

Anti-inflammatory

  • Asacol
    (Mesalamine)
    Prescription only

    Lialda (Mesalamine) is an effective first-line medicine for inflammatory bowel disease. There isn't a generic version and you'll have to take it multiple times a day.

    Was it worth it?
    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
    • Enema
    • Suppository
  • Antibiotic > Fluoroquinolone

    • Cipro
      (Ciprofloxacin)
      Prescription only

      Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) is a good and cheap antibiotic to treat many types of bacterial infections. However, you have to reduce your caffeine intake, and have to protect yourself from the sun.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
      • Infusion (IV)
  • Antibiotic > Nitroimidazole

    • Flagyl
      (Metronidazole)
      Prescription only

      Flagyl (Metronidazole) is a very good way to treat certain bacterial infections, but you can't have any alcohol while on it since it'll make you throw up. A lot.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release tablet
  • Immunosuppressant > Immunomodulator

    • Cimzia
      (Certolizumab)
      Prescription only

      Cimzia (Certolizumab) is an effective medicine to calm down your immune system, but it can be expensive and it requires a lot of monitoring while you're taking it.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Humira
      (Adalimumab)
      Prescription only

      Humira (Adalimumab) is very effective at calming down your immune system, but it's expensive, you have to take into account the hassle of injections and traveling with the medication.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Remicade
      (Infliximab)
      Prescription only

      Remicade (Infliximab) is very effective at calming down your immune system, but you have to get each dose at your doctor's office and watch out for serious side effects.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Stelara
      (Ustekinumab)
      Prescription only

      Stelara (Ustekinumab) works for two psoriatic conditions. It may be somewhat of a hassle because of the injection, but after the first two doses, you only need to take it every 12 weeks.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Methotrexate
      Prescription only

      Otrexup (Methotrexate) is a first line treatment for many autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. If you're taking it for a long time, you'll have to get routine blood tests.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Injection
  • Antirheumatic > Biological response modifier

    • Cimzia
      (Certolizumab)
      Prescription only

      Cimzia (Certolizumab) is an effective medicine to calm down your immune system, but it can be expensive and it requires a lot of monitoring while you're taking it.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Humira
      (Adalimumab)
      Prescription only

      Humira (Adalimumab) is very effective at calming down your immune system, but it's expensive, you have to take into account the hassle of injections and traveling with the medication.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Remicade
      (Infliximab)
      Prescription only

      Remicade (Infliximab) is very effective at calming down your immune system, but you have to get each dose at your doctor's office and watch out for serious side effects.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
    • Methotrexate
      Prescription only

      Otrexup (Methotrexate) is a first line treatment for many autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. If you're taking it for a long time, you'll have to get routine blood tests.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Injection
  • Antipsoriatic > Biological response modifier

    • Stelara
      (Ustekinumab)
      Prescription only

      Stelara (Ustekinumab) works for two psoriatic conditions. It may be somewhat of a hassle because of the injection, but after the first two doses, you only need to take it every 12 weeks.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Injection
  • Anticancer > Antimetabolite

    • Methotrexate
      Prescription only

      Otrexup (Methotrexate) is a first line treatment for many autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. If you're taking it for a long time, you'll have to get routine blood tests.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Injection

Medication side effects for Crohn's disease

These are some of the most common side effects from clinical trials for abdominal pain.

  • Budesonide: 6%
0 of 100

At this end, no one is expected to have abdominal pain

100 of 100

At this end, almost everyone is expected to have abdominal pain

Tips, success stories, and coping strategies for Crohn's disease

What tip would you give someone like me who was just diagnosed?
  • Find a great gastroenterologist and a great general practitioner. It takes a team to help you find your new normal. Find an online support group, where you can vent. Then after the initial blow, grab life by the horns, and keep riding!
  • Remember you are a whole person -- focus on mental, physical, emotional, etc. Nutrition response testing, VSL3 (probiotic), eliminate food triggers, mind-body stress reduction... do your own research!
  • Take your diet very seriously. Understand what triggers flares by keeping a food diary and consider an elimination diet. Reducing/eliminating gluten (wheat, oats, etc.) and dairy can have a significant impact. The Paleo Diet, particularly the Anti-Inflammatory Paleo Diet, might be worth considering. Supplements can also be important, particularly Vitamin D, Folic Acid and B12. Other supplements worth considering include Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), Vitamin C, concentrated mineral drops, liquid calcium citrate, and more. Probiotics can be hit or miss. Typically people with ulcerative colitis benefit more from probiotics than people with Crohn's. Supplements to boost energy may also be beneficial, such as the supplements used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. Get plenty of sleep and reduce stress. Exercise is also particularly important for imroving health and mood. Yoga has helped many people too.
What’s your best coping strategy?
  • Managing daily stress is key for me. My job is high stress, so I listen to white noise (ocean waves) all day, and take frequent breaks. I also found a job where I can work from home. This has been key for IBD.
Besides medications, what else has worked for you?
  • VSL-3
  • Nutrition Response Testing & Mind-Body Stress Reduction Exercises
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Diet, Supplements, Exercise, Yoga, Stress Reduction