Enbrel for Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is a condition in which the lining of the digestive tract is inflamed, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Enbrel, a drug prescribed for some types of arthritis, treats inflammation, leading researchers to speculate about its usefulness for treating Crohn's disease. However, the current evidence shows Enbrel is not an effective treatment for Crohn's disease.

  1. Crohn's Disease

    • Crohn's disease is caused by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. It can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and in severe cases, malnutrition. The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown, but factors such as family medical history, smoking and age may play a role. Crohn's disease is most likely to develop in people ages 20 to 30. Certain drugs, including isotretinoin (an acne medication) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, can also increase risk for Crohn's disease.

    Treatments

    • There is no cure for Crohn's disease. It is usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs which can control the inflammation and reduce symptoms. Other medications may be used to treat the symptoms of Crohn's disease. For example, pain relievers such as acetaminophen may be used to reduce abdominal pain. Iron, calcium, and vitamin D supplements can help treat malnutrition.

    Enbrel

    • Enbrel is a prescription medication typically used to treat arthritis. In diseases such as arthritis, certain immune system cells are overactive, producing an excess of active tumor necrosis factor, a protein that plays an important role in immune system functioning. Too much tumor necrosis factor often causes inflammation, which is a cause of some of the symptoms of arthritis. Enbrel can help control the symptoms of arthritis, but it can also weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to infection.

    Enebrel for Crohn's Disease

    • Because Crohn's disease is an inflammatory condition, some researchers have speculated that drugs which target inflammation, such as Enbrel, may be effective treatments. In a study of 43 patients with Crohn's disease, however, little difference was noted between patients treated with Enbrel and those treated with a placebo, according to an article in "Gastroenterology." A meta-analysis of several studies published in "Biomedicine and Pharmocatherapy" found Enbrel had no significant effect on Crohn's disease.

    Considerations

    • It is important to always consult with a physician before starting any course of treatment. With a variety of treatment options available for Crohn's disease, patient and doctor must work together to come up with the treatment plan.

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References

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