Friday, March 07, 2008

Reverse treatment aids Crohn's sufferers

From the Globe and Mail:
Conventional wisdom about the treatment of Crohn's disease is being turned on its head by a new study.

Traditionally, patients diagnosed with the devastating inflammatory bowel disease are treated with a "step-up" approach, a series of drugs given sequentially as their health deteriorates.

First, they get corticosteroids to control symptoms like abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. They are then prescribed a powerful immune-suppressing drug, which prepares them for a third medication, an antibody that curbs the inflammation at the root of the disease.

But a group of European and Canadian researchers decided to see what would happen if they treated newly diagnosed Crohn's patients immediately with a combination of an immune-suppressing drug, azathioprine, and an antibody, infliximab, simultaneously. Patients were only treated with steroids if they had symptoms.

In the study, published in today's edition of The Lancet, this "step-down" approach proved to be markedly more effective. ...more

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