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Postgrad Med J. 2004 Apr;80(942):206-13.

Management of inflammatory bowel disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Abstract

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease result from an interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Only one gene, NOD2/CARD15, has been clearly identified; a minority of people with alteration of this gene develop Crohn's disease. The NOD2/CARD15 protein is thought to be involved in defence against intracellular bacteria. This supports the idea that Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis result from altered immunological responses to the normal intestinal flora. Life expectancy is normal in ulcerative colitis and nearly so in Crohn's disease, but both conditions cause considerable morbidity. Approximately 80% of patients with Crohn's disease eventually require surgery, and about 25% of patients with ulcerative colitis require colectomy. Treatment of ulcerative colitis is generally by corticosteroids for acute disease and mesalazine for maintenance, but the range of therapies for Crohn's disease is expanding. Alternative therapies include immunosuppressives, enteral nutrition, antibiotics, anti-TNF antibody (infliximab), corticosteroids, and surgery. High dosages of corticosteroids may provide symptomatic relief in Crohn's disease but do not affect the long term natural history of the disease, and management strategies should avoid using steroids whenever possible.

PMID:
15082841
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1742977
Free PMC Article
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