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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Mar;27 Suppl 1:15-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03606.x.

Review article: evolving concepts in treatment and disease modification in ulcerative colitis.

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Section of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



More than two-thirds of ulcerative colitis patients experience at least one relapse over a period of 10 years. Treatments that reduce the likelihood of relapses also reduce the risk of long-term complications.


To review three topics: the current standard of treatment for ulcerative colitis, evolving concepts in treatment, and disease modification as a treatment goal of the future.


Currently, 5-aminosalicylates are the standard treatment for the induction and maintenance of remission in mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis patients. Evidence suggests that patients who take oral 5-aminosalicylates regularly are nearly six times more likely to experience regression in disease severity than those who do not. Additional treatment options such as corticosteroids, immunomodulators, biological therapies and ciclosporin are available for moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis patients, or those who do not respond to 5-aminosalicylate. Surgery becomes pertinent for more than one-third of ulcerative colitis patients during the course of their disease. With the availability of a variety of therapies, advances in surgery and improved management strategies, a better understanding of patient treatment expectations can help improve the quality of care for ulcerative colitis patients.


Disease modification is increasingly becoming a treatment goal in the management of ulcerative colitis. However, long-term studies are needed to examine further the disease modifying role of 5-aminosalicylates.

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