Enteral nutrition compared with corticosteroids in children with Crohn's disease: A long-term nationwide study from the epi-IIRN

Luba Plotkin, Rachel Buchuk, Rona Lujan, Gili Focht, Shira Greenfeld, Revital Kariv, Yiska Loewenberg Weisband, Natan Lederman, Eran Matz, Iris Dotan, Ram Reifen, Dan Turner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Both corticosteroids and exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) have been used as induction therapy in children with Crohn's disease (CD). Aim: To compare in a nationwide study the long-term outcomes of children with CD receiving either EEN or corticosteroids as induction therapy. Methods: We retrieved data of all children diagnosed with CD (2005–2020) from the epi-IIRN cohort covering 98% of the Israeli population. The primary outcome was time to complicated disease course (i.e., surgery, steroid-dependency, or at least 2 biologic class). Patients were matched individually utilising propensity score adjustments. Results: We included 410 children treated with EEN and 375 with corticosteroids without other treatments (median follow-up, 4.73 [IQR: 2.2–7.2] years [1433 patient-years]). For 274 matched children, the probability of a complicated course was higher with corticosteroids than EEN at 0.5, 3 and 5 years (14% vs. 4%, 42% vs. 27% and 54% vs. 41%, respectively, p = 0.0066), despite similar use of biologics. Steroid-dependency (10% vs. 2%, 15% vs. 3%, and 20% vs. 5%, respectively, p = 0.00018), and hospitalisations (20% vs. 11%, 37% vs. 26%, and 55% vs. 38%, respectively, p = 0.002) were higher with corticosteroids. During follow-up, children receiving corticosteroids as induction treatment were more often further exposed to corticosteroids, and those on EEN were more often further exposed to nutritional treatment (p < 0.001). Induction with EEN had no advantage over corticosteroids regarding survival probability of surgeries, biologic use and growth. Conclusions: EEN in paediatric CD is associated with lower long-term risks of corticosteroid dependency and hospitalisation than corticosteroids. These results may lend support to favouring nutritional therapy in paediatric CD.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

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© 2024 The Authors. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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