The conventional drug regimen prescribed for people with Crohn's disease might not be the best strategy, a new study shows.
Crohn's disease is marked by inflammation and ulcers in the intestines. It has no cure, but patients often get relief from corticosteroids, such as prednisone, the standard medication for flare-ups. If those don't work, doctors frequently turn to the anti-inflammatory drug infliximab (Remicade) and a slow-acting immune suppressor called azathioprine.
Although steroids are the standard first choice, they have side effects that include weight gain, easy bruising, swelling, and even osteoporosis.
To test whether the treatment order should be reversed, researchers randomly assigned 65 people in the throes of a Crohn's attack to get the infliximab-azathioprine combination first. If patients hadn't recovered after several weeks or months doctors prescribed steroids, depending on an individual's status.
A group of 64 other Crohn's patients rec