Seventeen children with active Crohn's disease of the small intestine were entered into a randomised control trial comparing the efficacy of an elemental diet with that of a high dose steroid regimen. Eight children received an elemental diet (Flexical) through a nasogastric tube for six weeks, followed by reintroduction of food over six weeks during which the Flexical was stopped. Seven children were given intramuscular adrenocorticotrophic hormone followed by oral prednisolone with sulphasalazine. Two children were withdrawn from the trial. The elemental diet was equally effective in inducing an improvement in Lloyd-Still disease activity index, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C reactive protein and albumin concentrations, and body weight as the high dose steroid regimen. Linear growth, assessed from height velocity over six months, was significantly greater in the children receiving an elemental diet.
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