Treatment for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis depends on how severe the symptoms are, and how much of the gut is affected. 

There is a range of drugs used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Initially, the aim of drug treatment is to reduce inflammation in the gut to bring relief from symptoms are induce (bring about) remission).  Once the condition is under control, your doctor will usually continue to prescribe drugs to maintain remission and prevent relapse – this is called maintenance treatment.

In some cases, if medical treatment is not effective, then surgery may be required.   . 

We have a number of free to download information sheets and booklets that outline the different treatments available.

Following my surgery, there’s nothing stopping me, and since I came back from surgery I’ve missed just one day’s training. I’m living a normal life again, balancing football with a busy family life.

Darren Fletcher, Premiership footballer
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2008

Drugs to treat IBD

Many of the drugs used to help control IBD are anti-inflammatory drugs.  These include steroids, 5ASAs, immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, methotrexate and ciclosporin, and biological drugs like infliximab and adalimumab. 

Other drugs used for IBD include antiobiotics such as metronidazole and ciprofloxacin, and symptomatic drugs such as antidiarrheals and bulking agents.

We have some detailed information sheets about some of the drugs most commonly used in IBD:


Sometimes people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease require surgery. A range of surgeries can be recommended and these guides looks at what they are and when they are necessary, weighing up the pros and cons in the process:

Other forms of treatment

Browse our list of free booklets, information sheets and guides for detailed information about other forms of treatment for Crohn’s and Colitis, including dietary therapy, counselling and fatigue.

As with Crohn’s, a variety of surgeries can be recommended for Ulcerative Colitis. This guide looks at what they are and when they are necessary, weighing up the pros and cons in the process.

Ulcerative Colitis, Edition 9 - last review June 2017. Next planned review 2020.
Crohn's Disease, Edition 7a - last review October 2017. Amended July 2017. Next planned review 2019.

Find out about