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Dis Colon Rectum. 2010 Sep;53(9):1295-300. doi: 10.1007/DCR.0b013e3181e7562c.

Impact of narcotic use on the requirement for colectomy in inpatients with ulcerative colitis.

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Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



The effect of narcotic use in the disease course of ulcerative colitis has not been studied. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of narcotic use on the requirement for colectomy in inpatients with ulcerative colitis.


All eligible patients with ulcerative colitis admitted to gastroenterology service for disease flare-ups between 2002 and 2008 were included. Excluded were patients with ulcerative colitis admitted to the colorectal surgery service for emergent or elective colectomy and patients with Crohn's disease. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data were reviewed. The definition of narcotics use was oral or intravenous administration of the agents during hospital admission or at hospital transfer. Multivariable analysis was performed.


A total of 223 patients were included. One hundred six patients were males. The mean age was 38.7 +/- 18.1 years. Forty-four patients (19.7%) were on oral or intravenous narcotics during the hospitalization. Sixty-seven patients (30%) had colectomy during the hospitalization and the colectomy rate was similar between narcotic user and nonnarcotic users (29.5% vs 30.2%, P = .9). In multivariable analysis, only the serum albumin level remained in the model as an independent risk factor associated with colectomy (OR = 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-0.9; P = .03). Narcotic use was not an independent risk factor for colectomy in this study (P = .5).


Narcotics were commonly prescribed to patients with ulcerative colitis who were admitted to the gastroenterology service. However, narcotic use appeared not to have a significant negative impact on the colectomy rate in inpatients with ulcerative colitis. In contrast, the low albumin level at flare was associated with an increased risk for colectomy.

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