The medical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis has three main goals:

  • Achieving remission (the absence of symptoms)
  • Maintaining remission (prevention of symptoms or flare-ups)
  • Improving your quality of life

To accomplish these goals, treatment is aimed at controlling the ongoing inflammation in the intestine— the cause of IBD symptoms. There is no standard approach to managing all people with IBD. The symptoms, severity of disease, and how the disease might impact a person down the road vary considerably.

Your healthcare provider will work with you to help decide the right treatment for you. It may take some time for medications to take effect, or sometimes a medication may stop working. The management of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis involves dedication to taking your medications as prescribed, and maintaining open communication with your healthcare team so you can work together towards achieving remission.

There are many medications available to help control your disease symptoms and inflammation. IBD medications generally fall into the following categories:

Many of the same medications used for adults are also used in children with IBD. However, there may be special considerations taken when these medications are prescribed. Additionally, women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should also discuss their medication options with their healthcare team.

Open configuration options

Be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and side effects of these medications and weigh them against the potential benefits. The following webinar highlights IBD medication options and the importance of participating in shared decision-making with your healthcare team to determine the plan that is best for you.