Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Elemental diet as primary treatment of acute Crohn's disease: a controlled trial.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 23 June 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:1859
  1. C O'Moráin,
  2. A W Segal,
  3. A J Levi


    Acute exacerbations of Crohn's disease are usually treated with prednisolone or potentially more toxic immunosuppressive drugs or by surgery. In pilot studies replacing the normal diet by a protein free elemental diet also induced remission. A controlled trial was therefore conducted in which 21 patients acutely ill with exacerbations of Crohn's disease were randomised to receive either prednisolone 0.75 mg/kg/day or an elemental diet (Vivonex) for four weeks. Assessment at four and 12 weeks showed that the patients treated with the elemental diet had improved as much as and by some criteria more than the steroid treated group. Elemental diet is a safe and effective treatment for acute Crohn's disease.