Crohn's disease is a relapsing-remitting disorder of the gastrointestinal tract caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Pharmacologic treatment of Crohn's disease is patient-specific, and regimens vary widely between individuals. Drug regimens are typically based on 5-aminosalicylate therapy and may include a combination of steroids, histamine 2 receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, immunomodulators, antibiotics, biologic agents and other medications aimed at symptom relief. A new medication, vedolizumab, is currently in phase III clinical trials awaiting U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in Crohn's disease. Vedolizumab is an alpha-integrin inhibitor, which is anticipated to have a better safety profile than Tysabri® ( natalizumab ), an alpha-integrin inhibitor already approved for treatment of Crohn's disease. Pharmacists have an opportunity to educate Crohn's disease patients about nonpharmacologic management including counseling on diet, exercise, stress-relief therapy and use of multivitamins as well as the importance of regular colonoscopies and visits to a primary care practitioner. Pharmacists can also educate patients and practitioners about alternative therapies including probiotics, fecal microbiota transplantation and fish oils which may help manage the disease.
Turley S, Kneuss T, Suchecki L, Steinbrunner A, Timperman K. Crohn's Disease: Management, Emerging Therapies and the Role of the Pharmacist. PAW Review. 2014 Jul 01; 5(3):Article 4 22-26 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol5/iss3/4. Free full text article.