Despite the alternative treatment methods used to treat Crohn’s disease, these treatments are often insufficient in many cases, especially in severe illnesses. Most people still need medication to control symptoms and bring the disease into remission. A promising new type of drug is the anti-TNF drug.
A number of recent medical studies have shown that TNF blockers may be an effective way to treat patients with 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 medicine and why it may be a breakthrough treatment for Crohn’s disease.
What is anti-TNF and how does it work? This is a group of drugs specially developed to localize tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), a cytokine protein produced by the immune system. Anti-TNF finds TNF-alpha in the bloodstream and then removes it by binding to blood cells and cell membranes before it reaches the intestine and causes inflammation. This treatment does not directly treat the inflammation. It targets the immune system and helps reduce inflammation.
Studies have shown that cells affected by Crohn’s disease contain TNF-alpha, many researchers believe that overproduction of TNF-alpha may be the main cause of intestinal inflammation leading to Crohn’s disease. So the theory is that if it prevents TNF-alpha from reaching the gut of Crohn’s disease patients, TNF-alpha will find relief from their symptoms and prevent future seizures. Studies have also shown that the use of anti-TNF to treat Crohn’s disease appears to be helpful in preventing and curing fistulas.
How can anti-TNF therapy help fistulas? It can help prevent fistula formation by reducing attacks of Crohn’s disease and putting the disease into remission. With regard to fistula healing, anti-TNF drugs have been shown to be effective in combination with surgery, especially in patients with complex fistulas. Studies have shown that surgical treatment with anti-TNF has been successful in healing the fistula without recurrence.
The most studied anti-TNF drug used to treat patients with Crohn’s disease is infliximab, also known as Remicade. Several studies have shown that infliximab is both an effective and well-tolerated treatment for the treatment of acute Crohn’s disease. This is because due to its success, this particular anti-TNF has received approval from the European Medicines Evaluation Agency and the FDA.
Of course, like any radical treatment, infliximab still has a few issues, although it is considered a medical breakthrough in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. For example, due to the fact that it contains a mouse protein, it can cause a delayed allergic reaction in some people. Also, it increases the risk of infection and is not considered a safe way for people who have or have had certain illnesses, including cancer, heart failure, tuberculosis, and seizures.
In addition, there are concerns regarding the carcinogenicity of the anti-TNF antibody, which could lead to the development of nonproliferation disorders and human anti-chimeric antibodies (HACK). Therefore, more studies are needed to determine the exact role of anti-TN antibodies in maintaining remission in Croon’s disease and how long treatment remains effective in patients who respond well.