Treatment of Crohn’s disease of inflammatory, stenotic, and fistulizing phenotypes
- Cite this article as:
- Dubinsky, M.C. & Fleshner, P.P. Curr Treat Options Gastro (2003) 6: 183. doi:10.1007/s11938-003-0001-1
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The heterogeneous nature of Crohn’s disease (CD) is reflected in the diversity of treatment options available for individual patients. The stratification of CD patients into more homogeneous groups based on disease location and disease behavior may provide clinicians with a more focused approach to therapeutic decision-making. Uncomplicated disease behaviors are typically treated medically. When complications arise and patterns of disease become more aggressive, combined medical and surgical approaches are often necessary and yield favorable results. The surgical management of CD can be as complex as the disease itself, and should involve a surgeon who professes a special expertise in inflammatory bowel disease. Progress in our understanding of the role of the interaction between the environment and the immune system in disease development has led to major advancements in the area of CD therapeutics. Current therapies target the various elements of the inflammatory cascade implicated in the pathogenesis of CD. The anti-inflammatory properties of the pharmacologic therapies presented in this review vary from actions that are extremely broad to those that are cellular or cytokine specific. Maximizing the efficacy of CD-directed therapies while minimizing their toxicity remains the principal objective in developing management strategies for CD patients. Maintaining good quality of life and maximizing adherence to therapies are also important considerations. Despite the various therapeutic options available for CD patients, chosen therapies should be based on the overall treatment goal for individual patients. Therapeutics can be broadly categorized as induction therapies (goal to treat active disease) and maintenance therapies (goal to prevent relapse of disease).