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Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in childhood.

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Dept. of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Of all patients with Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, the first presentation of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is at a paediatric or adolescent age in 20% to 30%, most children being prepubertal at diagnosis. It is essential to provide an accurate diagnosis in children suspected of IBD, as the initial treatment of Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis in children is not the same as it is in adults. While the role of enteral feeding in the treatment of Crohn disease in adults continues to be controversial, there is firm evidence to support the use of enteral feeding as primary therapy for Crohn disease in children. Nutrition is improved by enteral feeding, and growth and pubertal development are promoted, while the systemic toxicity of corticosteroid therapy is avoided. Supplementary nocturnal enteral nutrition (with daytime intake of normal diet) after primary therapy and remission induction may be associated with the prolongation of remission. Drug treatment in children with IBD is characterized by a lack of evidence from controlled trials.

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