Medical management of Crohn’s disease: state of the art and future perspectives
Over the past decade, the improvement in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of Crohn’s disease (CD) led to the development of more targeted therapies, including biologics - i.e. monoclonal antibodies that selectively block key mediators of inflammation - and novel small molecule drugs - i.e. compounds with a molecular weight <1 kDa able to diffuse through cell membranes and then fit for the oral route of administration - which will enrich the therapeutic armamentarium of CD soon. In parallel with the expansion of the medical options, the therapeutic targets to be achieved in patients with CD have changed. In particular, we moved from the simple control of symptoms to more ambitious goals which aim to permanently extinguish the inflammation, even the subclinical one. As a consequence, the role of some of the conventional drugs which have been used in CD for several years, such as 5-aminosalicylates and conventional immunosuppressants, is becoming more limited in favor of these new drugs. This profound modification of CD therapy and the intrinsic complexity of the disease are relevant to the point that the management of inflammatory bowel diseases is gradually becoming a subspecialty in the field of gastroenterology or internal medicine.
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