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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 May;39(9):949-56. doi: 10.1111/apt.12688. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Adjunct antibiotic combination therapy for steroid-refractory or -dependent ulcerative colitis: an open-label multicentre study.

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Division of Research Planning and Development, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



We previously demonstrated that antibiotic combination therapy is effective for induction and maintenance of ulcerative colitis (UC) remission.


To assess whether antibiotic combination therapy is effective for active UC refractory to or dependent on steroids in a multicentre, open-label trial.


We enrolled 30 patients with steroid-refractory and 64 with steroid-dependent active UC. These patients received three-times-daily by mouth amoxicillin 500 mg, tetracycline 500 mg and metronidazole 250 mg, for two weeks, as well as conventional treatment. Symptom assessment and colonoscopic evaluation were performed before enrolment and at 3 and 12 months after treatment completion. Clinical response was defined as a Lichtiger symptom score decrease in ≥3 points and clinical remission as a score ≤4.


Nineteen of the 30 steroid-refractory (63.3%) and 47 of the 64 steroid-dependent (73.4%) patients showed a clinical response within 2 weeks. At 3 and 12 months, 60% and 66.6% of steroid-refractory patients, and 56.3% and 51.6% of steroid-dependent patients, respectively, achieved clinical remission. In the steroid-dependent group, 39 of the 64 patients (60.9%) were able to stop steroid therapy and remained in remission for 3 months. Three (10%) steroid-refractory and four (6.3%) steroid-dependent patients underwent colectomy.


This multicentre, long-term follow-up study suggests 2 week antibiotic combination therapy to be effective and safe in patients with active UC refractory to or dependent on steroids.

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