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Is my son taking correct medication for Crohn’s disease?

Q: My 17 years old son has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease last year. He took steroids for a month for the same. For the last 10 months he has been given Pentasa 1000 mg twice daily. Now the doctor has reduced the dose to 500 mg. He is doing well and the disease is in remission. What are the side effects of Pentasa? Can he stay in a hostel and take hostel food as doctors advised him to avoid oily and spicy food? What is the remission period of this disease? Please advise.

A:Pentasa brand contains mesalazine, a drug used in the management of Crohn's disease. During acute episodes, steroids are given and then gradually reduced when the symptoms disappear. The normal dose of mesalazine is in the range of 1200 to 2400mg but it can vary from patient to patient. If the patient gets stabilized at 1000mg, well and good. Crohn's disease is a chronic, recurrent problem; hence medication may be needed for prolonged period to prevent acute attacks. Remission can last for variable periods in different patients. Apart from mesalazine, there are other medicines to maintain remission such as azathioprine, methotrexate etc. Some patients may need surgery during their life time. Apart from episodic, acute symptoms, a patient has normal life. One must be very careful with food since spicy products can precipitate acute attacks.

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