A randomized controlled study comparing elemental diet and steroid treatment in Crohn's disease.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1997 Aug;11(4):735-40. PMID: 9305483
Università di Bologna, Italy.
BACKGROUND: Elemental diet is considered an effective primary treatment for active Crohn's disease, but it is usually given by a feeding tube. METHODS: Twenty-two patients (12 males, median age 30 years, range 18-60) with moderately active Crohn's disease were enrolled in a randomized study in which the efficacy of an elemental diet administered orally was compared to high-dose corticosteroids in achieving clinical and laboratory remission. Ten patients were treated by oral elemental diet (Peptamen, Clintec, USA) and 10 received corticosteroids. Both treatment regimens lasted 2 weeks. The two groups did not differ with respect to age, sex, body weight, location of disease, treatment or disease activity prior to the study. In all patients studied, simple Crohn's disease activity index, nutritional status (expressed as body mass index), percentage of ideal body weight, fat mass, fat free mass, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, interleukin-6, intestinal permeability (expressed as permeability index), prealbumin, retinol binding protein and multiskin test were evaluated before and after treatment. RESULTS: After 2 weeks of treatment, there were significant improvements in simple Crohn's disease activity index, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, permeability index, body mass index, prealbumin, retinol binding protein and multiskin test in the elemental diet group. There were significant improvements in simple Crohn's disease activity index and fat free mass in the corticosteroid group. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that, in the short term, an oral elemental diet is at least as effective as steroids in inducing remission of mild-moderately active Crohn's disease, but it may be more effective in improving the nutritional status of these patients, probably through a more rapid restoration of normal intestinal permeability.