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Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2010 Feb;6(2 Suppl 3):1-16.

5-ASA Dose-Response: Maximizing Efficacy and Adherence.

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Seymour Katz, MD Clinical Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.


Mesalamine (5-aminosalicylic acid; 5-ASA) represents the cornerstone of first-line therapy for mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis (UC). Current guidelines suggest that the combination of oral and rectal therapies provide optimal symptom resolution and effectively maintain remission in the majority of these patients. Although effective, most oral 5-ASA formulations have a high pill burden and rectal therapies are associated with low adherence. Recent research has examined patterns of compliance, as well as the efficacy of different dose levels of 5-ASA in terms of symptom resolution, the maintenance of remission, and improvements in quality of life. The ASCEND I, II, and III trials found that doses of 4.8 g/day are more effective than 2.4 g/day doses in patients with moderate disease, those with previous steroid use, and those with a history of multiple medications. The benefits of effective long-term 5-ASA therapy include the avoidance of more costly and potentially toxic drugs (such as corticosteroids and biologic therapies), as well as improvements in quality of life, reductions in the need for future colectomy, and a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.


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