Is pediatric IBD treatment different than in adults?

R. Lev-Tzion, D. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The incidence of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) continues to rise in most countries. Approximately 20-25% of IBD patients present before the age of 20, and their management is associated with many unique challenges. These challenges stem both from the inherent differences between children and adults, and from the differences in the nature and course of the disease. Children with IBD are more likely than adults to present with extensive disease - both in Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion, as children may present with less typical signs such as poor growth and delayed puberty. In the very young patients with inflammatory bowel disease, the pediatric clinician must consider a broader range of immunological and allergic disorders. Optimal management requires recognition of pediatric patterns of presentation, efficacy and adverse-effect profiles, and understanding monitoring aspects unique to pediatrics. These aspects include pediatric disease-related psychological issues, adherence to therapy and transition to adult care. Inadequate attention to growth, puberty or bone health in childhood can result in long-term consequences, such as impaired adult height and increased risk of fractures. Management of pediatric IBD and prevention of adverse long-term consequences relies on a variety of therapies well-known to the adult practitioner, along with therapies that are not widespread in adults, most notably exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN). The latter is as effective as corticosteroids in achieving clinical remission in children, while achieving better results than corticosteroids with regard to mucosal healing and growth. This review discusses the broad variety of issues that form the basis for management of pediatric IBD.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalMinerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Colitis, ulcerative
  • Crohn disease
  • Enteral nutrition
  • Growth

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gastroenterology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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