Switch from systemic steroids to budesonide in steroid dependent patients with inactive Crohn's disease

A. Cortot, J. F. Colombel, P. Rutgeerts, K. Lauritsen, H. Malchow, J. Hämling, T. Winter, A. Van Gossum, T. Persson, E. Pettersson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Background - Steroid dependent patients with Crohn's disease are at high risk of developing glucocorticosteroid induced side effects. Aims - We evaluated the possibility of switching from systemic steroids to budesonide (Entocort) in prednisolone/prednisone dependent patients with inactive Crohn's disease affecting the ileum and/or ascending colon. Patients - Steroid dependent patients with a Crohn's disease activity index ≤200 were included. Methods - In a double blind multicentre trial, 120 patients were randomly assigned to receive budesonide 6 mg once daily or placebo. Prednisolone was tapered to zero during the first 4-10 weeks and budesonide or placebo was given concomitantly and for a further 12 weeks. Relapse was defined as an index >200 and an increase of 60 points from baseline or withdrawal due to disease deterioration. Results - After one and 13 weeks without prednisolone, relapse rates were 17% and 32%, respectively, in the budesonide group, and 41% and 65% in the placebo group (95% confidence intervals for the difference in percentages -41%, -8% and -51%, -16%; p=0.004 and p<0.001, respectively). The number of glucocorticosteroid side effects was reduced by 50% by switching from prednisolone and was similar in the budesonide and placebo groups. Basal plasma cortisol increased in both groups. Conclusions - The majority of patients with steroid dependent ileocaecal Crohn's disease may be switched to budesonide controlled ileal release capsules 6 mg without relapse, resulting in a sharp decrease in glucocorticosteroid side effects similar to placebo, and with an increase in plasma cortisol levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-190
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Budesonide
  • Crohn's disease
  • Prednisolone
  • Steroid dependent


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