Pediatric Crohn’s Disease; Remicade as a New Treatment Option

Crohn’s Disease is a debilitating condition which affect nearly one half of a million Americans annually. With advances in technology and recent pediatric drug approval by the FDA, children suffering from this debilitating condition may soon find relief in a medication which has been commonly administered to adults.

In May 2006, the FDA approved the use of Remicade in the pediatric treatment of Crohn’s Disease. Previously approved in 1998 in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease in adults, Remicade’s success attributed to advances in research and development. Specifically, in the research and development of the treatment and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease in children. Although there is still no cure for Crohn’s Disease, Remicade does offer the pediatric patient a more improved life by reducing inflammation, correcting nutritional deficiencies, relieving symptoms and co-morbid disorders such as rectal bleeding, pain and diarrhea while working to force and maintain the disease into remission for as long as possible.

Discovered in 1932, Crohn’s Disease is named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn. As a progressive, chronic and inflammatory condition of the digestive tract, Chron’s Disease may affect any area of the GI tract but most commonly affects the small intestine. Since 1932, advances in the study of Crohn’s Disease have been complicated by the fact that the condition is somewhat difficult to diagnose in a patient, especially in pediatric patients. This complicated diagnosing stems from the fac that the condition does not always present with symptoms and may actually lie stagnant for a period of remission over weeks and even years.

Crohn’s Disease affects individuals of all age groups, gender and ethnic groups but most commonly appears in patient’s with a family history of an irritable bowel related condition. The condition generally begins in the late teens and early adulthood. Only 20% of all cases affect children. The cause and origin of Chron’s Disease is unknown but most believe it is a reaction of the body’s immune system to a specific bacteria or virus. As a result, prior to Remicade, physicians would commonly treat the symptoms with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or steroid treatments.

Although Remicade has many adverse side effects, in pediatric studies the risk factors were no greater in pediatric patients than in their adult counterparts. As a result, the same safety and health warning that currently apply to adult patients will continue to apply to the pediatric care regimen. Although not a cure, Remicade will provide the relief of symptoms so desperately necessary to a child’s physical and emotional development.

For more information regarding pediatric Crohn’s Disease treatments, research and symptoms, visit www.fda.gov or www.ccfa.org.

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