Entocort (Budesonide)

By Dr. Brian Bressler

What is it?

Entocort is under a class of medications called corticosteroids. It works by suppressing the immune system which reduces the inflammatory response within the GI tract.

Why do I need this medication?

This medication is effective in treating symptoms of Crohn’s Disease without the typical side effects associated with steroids. Unlike Prednisone, when Entocort is absorbed in the small intestines, over 90% of the drug is removed from the circulation by the liver. Therefore, side effects are uncommon as the medication does not continue to circulate in the bloodstream.

How long do I have to take this medication?

Entocort is used for the short-term management of symptoms but has no benefit for the long-term treatment of Crohn’s Disease as it does not prevent flares. When there is an improvement in symptoms, the dose is slowly reduced to zero.

How do I take it?

This medication comes in pill form and should be taken once daily in the morning.

The body naturally produces a steroid called cortisol. When taking this medication, the normal production of cortisol within the body is decreased. Once the medication is stopped, the normal production will resume but it will start again slowly. Therefore, it is important to wean off this medication to prevent any withdrawal symptoms.

A starting dose will be 9mg. Take this amount for 2 months. After 2 months, you can start to taper your dose by 3mg every 2 weeks. Speak to your doctor prior to weaning off your medication.

When will I start to feel better?

Entocort can take up to 2 months before you see the full benefits of the medication.

What happens when I want to get pregnant?

Family planning should be discussed with the doctor for more information.

Read more: Pregnancy and Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

Can I drink alcohol while on this medication?

Yes.

What are the risks/side effects?

The following is a list of potential side effects, similar to those of prednisone. However, because this medication acts more locally, these side effects are not common and this drug is very well tolerated.

  • Acne
  • Hirsutism (hair growth)
  • Striae (stretch marks)
  • Mood disturbances
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Edema (swelling of the feet or ankles)
  • Cushinoid appearance (moonface)
  • Increased appetite/Weight gain
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Increased blood glucose levels
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypertension
  • Cataracts, glaucoma
  • Increased risk of infection

Check out other treatments for Crohn's disease

Other Considerations

Please call the doctor immediately if you experience any unusual groin or hip pain as this may be suggestive of avascular necrosis.

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