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Treatment of fistulizing Crohn's disease

      Abstract

      The appropriate treatment of patients with fistulas in the setting of Crohn's disease requires a knowledge of the specific medical and surgical literature of fistulizing Crohn's. The patient with symptomatic fistulizing Crohn's disease may respond differently to specific medical therapy than a patient with symptomatic obstructing Crohn's disease. Certain medications that are useful for the treatment of patients with obstructive Crohn's disease may not be helpful in the treatment of fistulas in patients with fistulizing Crohn's disease (e.g., corticosteroids and mesalamine); in fact, some medications are believed to be detrimental (e.g., corticosteroids). Few studies have been performed to assess the efficacy of specific medications on fistulas directly. To date, there has been only one published prospective randomized controlled trial that was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of a specific medication on fistulas in patients with Crohn's disease; it showed clinical efficacy over placebo in a statistically significant manner. The judicious use of surgery remains an integral part of the management of certain presentations of fistulizing Crohn's disease, and the appropriate integration of surgical and medical therapy is of paramount importance in the management of these patients. This review provides an overview of pertinent medical and surgical literature as it pertains to management of patients with fistulizing Crohn's disease.
      GASTROENTEROLOGY 2000;119:1132-1147

      Abbreviations:

      AZA (azathioprine), CyA (cyclosporin A), MTX (methotrexate), 6-MP (6-mercaptopurine), TNF (tumor necrosis factor)
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