Biologic Therapy for Crohn's Disease

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How Biologics Are Given

If you have Crohn’s disease, your doctor may recommend biologic therapies, or biologics. Currently, there are six approved biologics for Crohn’s disease:

  • Adalimumab (Humira)

  • Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)

  • Infliximab (Remicade)

  • Natalizumab (Tysabri)

  • Vedolizumab (Entyvio)

  • Ustekinumab (Stelara)

What Are Biologics?

Biologics are made from parts of living organisms such as proteins, genes and antibodies. When used to treat Crohn’s disease, biologics target and interfere with specific parts of the body’s inflammatory response.

What sets biologics apart from other types of treatment is that they target particular proteins involved in Crohn’s disease. For example, while steroids suppress the entire immune system, biologics work in a more specific manner to help control your symptoms.

How Biologics Can Help

Biologics are approved to treat moderate to severe Crohn’s disease that has not improved with standard therapies. These include anti-inflammatory medications containing mesalamine, a compound that helps control inflammation; steroids; and immunosuppressive medications.

Crohn’s disease may cause intestinal ulcers that bore through affected areas and nearby tissues. These abnormal connections to the intestine are called fistulas. They’re a common complication of the disease and occur most often in areas around the anus and rectum. They may become infected and can require surgery. Biologics are also approved to treat open, draining fistulas.

If you haven’t had success with other treatments or suffer from fistulas, discuss with your doctor whether biologics could be right for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Biologics are made from parts of living organisms such as proteins, genes and antibodies.

  • Unlike other types of treatment, biologics target particular proteins involved in Crohn’s disease.

  • Biologics are approved to treat moderate to severe Crohn’s disease that has not improved with standard therapies.

  • Biologics are also approved to treat open, draining fistulas.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Jun 18

  1. Crohn’s Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/Pubs/crohns/index.aspx#treatment

  2. Biologic therapies. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/biologic-therapies.html

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