Anti TNF The next generation of Treatment for Your Crohns Symptom?
Despite the alternative treatment methods one uses to treat Crohn’s symptoms, in many cases, especially severe case of the disease, these treatments are often not enough. Most people still require medications to help control symptoms and put the disease in remission. A new type of medication that shows promise is Anti-TNF drugs.
A number of recent medical studies have found that anti-TNF may be an effective way to treat those who suffer from moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. What exactly is anti-TNF and how is it beneficial? The following information will help you better understand this medication and why it may be a breakthrough treatment for Crohn’s sufferers.
What is anti-TNF and how does it work? It is a group of medications that have been specially designed to locate tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) a cytokine protein created by the immune system. Anti-TNF works to find TNF-alpha in the bloodstream, and then removes it by binding it to blood cells and cell membranes before it reaches the intestine and causes inflammation. This treatment does not directly treat inflammation; it targets the immune system which helps alleviate inflammation.
Studies have found that cells which are affected by Crohn’s disease contain TNF-alpha, leaving many researchers to believe that the overproduction of TNF-alpha may be the leading cause of intestinal inflammation that results in Crohn’s disease. Thus, the theory is that by stopping TNF-alpha from reaching the intestines of Crohn’s sufferers, they’ll be able to find relief from their symptoms and prevent future attacks. In addition, studies are also finding that the use of anti-TNF for treating Crohn’s appears to be helpful in preventing and healing fistulas.
How can anti-TNF treatment help fistulas? It can help prevent the formation of fistulas by reducing attacks of Crohn’s and putting the disease in remission. As far as healing fistulas, anti-TNF medication is found to be effective when used in combination with surgery, particularly in those who suffer from complex fistulas. Studies found that using anti-TNF treatment with surgery successfully healed the fistula without recurrence.
The most studied anti-TNF drug used for treating Crohn’s patients is Infliximab, also known as Remicade. Multiple studies have proven that infliximab is both an effective and well tolerated treatment for managing acute Crohn’s disease. In fact, because this particular anti-TNF has been so successful, it has obtained the approval of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency and the FDA.
Of course, like any radical treatment, infliximab still presents some problems even though it is considered to be a medical breakthrough for treating Crohn’s. For instance, due to the fact that it contains a mouse protein, it can cause a delayed allergic reaction in some people. Furthermore, it increases the risk of infection, and is not deemed a safe remedy for people who suffer from or have had certain conditions including, cancer, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis and seizures.
In addition, there are concerns about immunogenicity occurring with the anti-TNF antibody which could cause the development of lymphoproliferative disorders and human antichimeric antibodies (HACA). Thus, more studies need to be conducted to further establish what the exact role anti-TNF antibodies play in maintaining the remission of Crohn’s, and how long the treatment will remain effective in patients who respond well to it.
Although Infliximab is the primary anti-TNF treatment used for Crohn’s, other anti-TNF medication being studied for possible treatment for Crohn’s disease include etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira).
Only time will tell if anti-TNF antibodies is the breakthrough treatment that Crohn’s symptom sufferers have been waiting for. Neverthless, the future looks bright.
By Sharon Dobson. To find out more about crohns herbal and for information on Crohn’s Disease please visit Natural Crohn’s Disease Relief, where you can sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing Crohn’s Disease naturally.