Types of Medications

At the present time, there are five basic categories of medications used in the treatment of IBD. They are:

Medical treatment for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis has two main goals: achieving remission (the absence of symptoms) and, once that is accomplished, maintaining remission (prevention of flare-ups). To accomplish these goals, treatment is aimed at controlling the ongoing inflammation in the intestine—the cause of IBD symptoms.

There is no standard regimen for managing all people with IBD. The symptoms, course of disease, and prognosis vary considerably. Proper disease treatment depends upon an accurate diagnosis. This typically requires endoscopic (the use of lighted tubes to view the intestine), radiologic (X-rays), and pathologic (analysis of tissues) examinations. A successful treatment strategy employs not only medical therapy, but careful attention to detail and judicious use of common sense.

Despite advances in medical therapies, some people with IBD eventually will require surgery—either to control their disease or to address various complications. Surgical intervention is integral to the care of people with IBD, and surgical consultants experienced in IBD are vital to proper treatment. Knowing when surgery is indicated and how to operate on these diseases is of paramount importance to both immediate and long-term outcomes.  For detailed information about the role of surgery in IBD, consult the appropriate section of this Web site.

As active partners in the treatment of your illness, you and your doctor should discuss, in detail, all of the medical and surgical options available to you. Reading material such as this will help you stay informed about the latest therapies and surgical techniques, and give you tips about coping with your illness from day to day. Remember, hundreds of thousands of people with IBD are living productive, fulfilling lives. With proper care, you can, too.

Learn more about treatment options

If you're confused about all the medications and therapies out there, you are not alone! IBD is extremely complex, which is why we've teamed up with Emmi Solutions to break the information down into simpler terms through interactive animated videos.

Each video explains the pros, cons, and tradeoffs of various treatments. Armed with this information, you'll be better equipped to discuss the options with your doctor and make the right decision. Watch the videos.

For further information, call Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's IBD Help Center: 888.MY.GUT.PAIN (888.694.8872).

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation provides information for educational purposes only. We encourage you to review this educational material with your health care professional. The Foundation does not provide medical or other health care opinions or services. The inclusion of another organization's resources or referral to another organization does not represent an endorsement of a particular individual, group, company or product.

About this resource

Published: May 1, 2009

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