There is no medical or surgical treatment that provides a permanent cure for Crohn's disease (CD). However, an evolving understanding of the pathogenesis of CD has provided clinicians with a diversity of medical treatment options for the disease. The goal of therapy is to induce and maintain clinical remission. The efficacy of immune-modifying agents such as azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine and infliximab have supported a paradigm shift in CD treatment in which maintenance agents are introduced earlier in the disease course. At the same time, it is imperative to balance the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of medical therapy. Given the variable and relapsing clinical course of CD, the physician and patient should ideally develop an ongoing relationship that allows for individualization of treatment regimens, monitoring of response and side effects, and modification of the therapeutic strategy in the absence of improvement.
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