How early to take arms against a sea of troubles? The case for aggressive early therapy in Crohn's disease to prevent fibrotic intestinal strictures

Shail M Govani, Ryan W Stidham, Peter D R Higgins
Journal of Crohn's & Colitis 2013, 7 (11): 923-7
While potent anti-inflammatory medications have reduced the symptoms of Crohn's disease, more than 60% of patients eventually require surgery due to the development of fibrosis. Even after the introduction of biologic drugs, the population-based rate of surgery for Crohn's disease has not decreased. We suspect this is due to late initiation of these therapies, after the fibrosis cascade is unstoppable. We review the evidence that suggests early aggressive therapy is beneficial, especially in patients diagnosed before age 40, and with ileal or perianal disease. Patients with symptomatic strictures may benefit from early surgery (before penetrating complications) followed by initiation of biologics. With increased early use of biologics and better control of inflammation, we hope to see a global reduction in intestinal fibrosis and related complications of Crohn's disease.

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