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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr;39(4):291-7.

Topical treatment of distal active ulcerative colitis with beclomethasone dipropionate or mesalamine: a single-blind randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Institute of Clinical Medicine, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Italy.



Therapy for active ulcerative colitis (UC) usually involves rectal formulations of corticosteroids (CS), which are characterized by the risk of systemic steroid-related adverse effects.


To compare the efficacy and safety of the topically acting CS beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) versus mesalamine (5-ASA) in the treatment of active UC.


Patients with mild to moderate distal active UC were randomized to a 6-week treatment with BDP 3 mg enema o.d. or 5-ASA 1 g enema daily in a single-blind, multicenter, parallel-group, controlled study. The primary efficacy variable was the decrease in Disease Activity Index (DAI) score. Safety variables were adrenal function, monitoring of adverse events, vital signs, and laboratory parameters.


A total of 217 patients were enrolled and treated with BDP (n = 111) or 5-ASA (n = 106). A significant decrease in the DAI score (P < 0.05) was observed in both treatment groups, with a clinical remission rate of 36.7% in the BDP group and of 29.2% in the 5-ASA group. Both treatments were well tolerated. No changes from baseline in morning cortisol levels were observed in the BDP group.


BDP administered as a rectal enema over a 6-week treatment period was efficacious and safe in patients with active UC, without interference with pituitary adrenal axis.

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