Study finds safer treatment for Crohn's disease

A safer and more effective approach to treating Crohn's disease has been developed that could eliminate the need for potentially harmful corticosteroids, according to the findings of an international study.

The approach could also be used to treat other auto-immune diseases such as ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Currently, Crohn's disease is treated using the ‘step-up approach'. This involves first administering corticosteroids to control the patient's symptoms before administering immune-suppressing drugs to prepare the body for a course of antibodies. 

The new ‘top-down' approach eliminates the need for steroids, which can be harmful.

Instead, the approach uses immune-suppressing drugs combined with an antibody in order to address the disease from the start.

The Lancet 2008;371:660-667

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