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Consumer Reports shares best buy for treating Crohn's disease

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Biologic drugs to treat Crohn's disease

Consumer Reports conducted an independent study that looked at biologic drugs available for Crohn's disease treatment. Based on their analysis, here is what the report says may be your "best buy" for choosing a biologic medication for treating ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease that should be discussed with your doctor.


There are a variety of options for treating Crohn's disease that can leave people diagnosed with the disease confused. Some medications are costly while others have side effects that are intolerable. When talking with your doctor how can you choose the best medication to help treat Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder that can lead to hospitalization and serious complications.

Medication choices

Consumer Reports recently highlighted several medications that are available for Crohn's disease treatment with some important considerations that could help IBD sufferers better understand their options.

Medications used to treat Crohn's disease include biologics that are newer and have a tendency to lead to more side effects than older drugs, cost more money and are not available in generic.

FDA approved biologics that won't cure the disease but might help control symptoms include:

  • Humira
  • Certolizumab (Cimzia)
  • Remicade
  • Natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • Entyvio

Biologics approved for IBD (ulcerative colitis) by the FDA include:

  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Golimumab (Simponi)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Vedolizumab (Entyvio)

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It's important to take cost into consideration when discussing a Crohn's disease treatment option with your doctor. You need to know which drugs are covered under your insurance. If you are uninsured explore patient assistance programs for help, such as those that can be found at needymeds.org. The Healthwell Foundation is also a good source for help.

You'll also want to understand what side effects can occur. Biologic drug side effects can be life-threatening for some and include tuberculosis, fungal infections and pneumonia. More commonly the drugs cause minor pain at the injection site and redness. Newer drugs could have unknown side effects because they have not been used for very long, which is also worth considering.

Which IBD medication might be best?

Consumer Reports reviewed all of the biologic medications to come to the conclusion that Humira, used to treat both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis might be safer than newer biologics because it has been used for 12-years.

The drug provides relief of symptoms by two-weeks and can work up to a year. Humira is also lower cost compared to other treatment options.

All biologics can increase your risk of infection because they suppress the immune system to quell inflammation. The good news about the drugs is that they can lower the need for corticosteroids that also suppress immunity, can lead to weight gain, mood changes, fluid retention and more.

Consumer Reports shares they came to the conclusion that Humira is a "best buy" for Crohn's disease treatment through an independent study conducted by a team of physicians and researchers at Johns Hopkins University Evidence-Based Practice Center and determined by whether a drug is FDA approved to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis and be as or more effective and safe than other biologics.

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Humira gave me psoriasis and no positive effect. Such a good deal! Remicade while it was effective gave me a nearly normal, energetic life. So which was the "best buy." What an ignorant article!
Marsha, of course Humira would not work for everyone and other options have to be explored when that happens. I think you may have misinterpreted the intent of the report.
I've been on Humira pens since May 21 of this year. Overall I'm doing better, I believe. I've had Crohns since 1974 and have tried everything. Humira seems to be my best hope so far. I'm not counting on remission, but instead hope for improvement. I think all Crohns sufferers would love to have sustained improvement, yes?
Thank you Jim for sharing your experience. Yes, anyone with the disease would want to have sustained remission and understanding options that are out there will hopefully help with difficult decisions.
What is the intent of this report? Reactions to any drug, but especially to immunomodulators, are highly individual, and there is no such thing as a "best buy". It's more like "try this first", and the decision is ultimately made by, or preferably with, the doctor. The only good advice in the article is to check your insurance coverage first,
The intent Steve, was to highlight that Humira is one of the safest Crohn's disease biologics because it's been around the longest and it is either as or more effective than the comparison biologics. Hopefully it will help other people who have a decision to make about what to try first for treatment. "Try this first" is a fine interpretation too. Consumer Reports used "best buy" as a term, so I quoted in the report. I'm sorry it did not sit well with you, You can click the report link at the end of the article to comment to Consumer Reports directly about their terminology if you wish. :)
Until this year I had been on Remicade for 18 years. It has been available loner than Humira and Gastroenterologists Ive worked with believe in general it is more effective. I tried Humira and Cymzia for convenience and failed on both. Currently in remission on Entyvia
Hi Rick: Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad you are in remission! It's good to know Entyvio worked for you. when the others failed, which is exactly how it is marketed.
In 2001 I was diagnosed with severe fistulizing crohn's disease. First went on prednisone - couldn't keep it down and threw it up every time. Went on to Remicade, purinthol and pentasa....with those medications I still had 2 surgeries to remove roughly 25 ft of my intestine. After my second surgery I started doing major research and I ditched all my medications. After all, why deal with the side effects/costs if I'm still having to have surgery. I went to Cannabis and have had zero flare ups since with no prescription drugs and no nasty side effects. I stopped prescription drugs roughly 3 years after being diagnosed. Cannabis... no medical benefit huh? I suppose the federal government will soon tell us that 1 + 1 = 3 and the sky is not blue. I know what's it like to suffer with crohn's. My sister was diagnosed roughly 10 years before me. She was on all the man made prescription drugs including prednisone which led to weight gain and severe mood swings that I never seen in my sister before. She got depressed and ended up overdosing on combination of prescription drugs. Passed away in her sleep. I lost my sister and my best friend as a result of crohn's and mainly prescription drugs.
Edward, I'm so sorry. I too want to see more research on the effect of cannabis for Crohn's disease. So far the evidence is positive, not to mention what you have just shared. I have been told by many people that it helps them. Did you read, or were told there is no medical benefit? I haven't come across anyone saying that...at best it isn't studied heavily from what I can find.