The natural history of Crohn's disease is characterized by a remitting and relapsing course that progresses to complications and surgery in the majority of patients. Current treatment guidelines advocate a stepwise approach according to disease location and severity at presentation, with goals mainly aimed at inducing and maintaining clinical remission. Major advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease offered significant opportunities for the development of new therapies over the past years. Infliximab and other biologic agents have shown impressive results in Crohn's disease patients refractory to standard therapy, suggesting a potential disease course-modifying action. These led to the proposal to reverse the traditional therapeutic algorithms using these agents early in the course of the disease. Preliminary data suggest that early intervention may be a more effective treatment strategy in some Crohn's disease patients. As yet, early and indiscriminate use of biologics remains to be supported by convincing evidence. Data on long-term treatment of Crohn's disease with infliximab or other biologics are even more scarce. Future studies aimed to identify predictors of complicated disease and long-term randomized studies aimed to compare "step-up" and "top-down" strategies in high-risk groups should help to answer if early introduction of biological therapy alters the natural history of Crohn's disease.
|Numero di pagine||9|
|Rivista||Digestive and Liver Disease|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2008|