Efficacy of pharmacological agents on the remission induction and maintenance of Crohn's disease
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The two options for treatment of the inflammatory bowel disease Crohn’s Disease are surgery and pharmacotherapy. Pharmacotherapy with the goal of inducing and maintaining remission is the preferred treatment route, but the current medications are not entirely effective in achieving these goals. Approximately half of Crohn’s Disease patients will be required to have surgical bowel resection within 20 years of diagnosis, and many patients are at higher risk of adverse events such as cancer, either directly as a result of Crohn’s Disease or due to side-effects of the drugs used to treat the condition. Medical management of the disease is very complicated and there is a relative lack of uniformity in treatment. Different drugs used either in monotherapy, sequential therapy, or combination therapy produce differing levels of efficacy and different outcomes. This analysis provides an overview of the four major classes of drugs used in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease and a discussion of the overall efficacy of the different methods of treatment. While more studies need to be conducted into the differing outcomes of monotherapy, sequential therapy, and combination therapy, it appears as though any treatment involving the use of biologics such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors results in improved outcomes relative to treatment styles that lack the use of biologics.