Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > UK's NICE Releases Guidance on Management of Crohn's Disease

UK's NICE Releases Guidance on Management of Crohn's Disease

Posted 12 October 2012 | By Louise Zornoza

UK's cost containment agency, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), has published guidance on the management of Crohn´s disease with both new and established drugs for adults and children.

The new recommendations include the use of:

  • A conventional glucocorticosteroid (prednisolone, methylprednisolone or intravenous hydrocortisone) to induce remission in people with a first presentation or a single inflammatory exacerbation of Crohn's disease in a 12 month period, and
  • Azathioprine or mercaptopurine as monotherapy to maintain remission when previously used with a conventional glucocorticosteroid or budesonide to induce remission.

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that mainly affects the gastrointestinal tract, and can develop at any age but most commonly starts between the ages of 15 and 30, with around a third of patients diagnosed before the age of 21. The disease affects slightly more women than men.

Though its cause remains unknown, it is known to be around twice as common in smokers than in non-smokers. There are currently around 115,000 people living with Crohn's disease in the UK and between 3000 and 6000 new cases are diagnosed each year. An estimated 5% of patients have severe disease, but the proportion of people with moderate Crohn's disease is unclear. The condition can lead to delay of growth and puberty in children, as well as affecting fertility and sexual relationships in adults.


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