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Digestion. 2005;71(1):41-8. Epub 2005 Feb 4.

Maintenance of remission in Crohn's disease.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Lausanne University Medical Center, Lausanne, Switzerland.


When remission of Crohn's disease is achieved, the next goal is to maintain long-term remission. Aminosalicylates may be recommended for maintenance remission, even though the results are less consistent than those observed in ulcerative colitis. The benefit is mainly observed in the post-surgical setting and in patients with ileitis, and with a prolonged disease duration. Corticosteroids are not effective in maintaining remission and should not be used for this indication. Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are effective in maintaining remission. Maintenance benefits remain significant for patients who continued with the therapy for up to 5 years. Methotrexate has also been found to be effective in maintaining remission in Crohn's disease in patients who have responded acutely to methotrexate. Cyclosporine has not been found to be an effective maintenance agent. Mycophenolate mofetil could be considered a therapy in patients who are either allergic to azathioprine or in whom azathioprine failed to induce remission. The use of infliximab may change the future approach to maintenance therapy for Crohn's disease. Patients who responded clinically to infliximab have maintained their clinical response when receiving repeat infusions at 8-week intervals. In patients refractory to other therapies, infliximab may be effective in maintaining remission.

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