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Dig Dis Sci. 1989 May;34(5):758-60.

Failure of 5-aminosalicylic acid enemas to improve chronic radiation proctitis.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66103.


Radiation proctitis is a well-known complication of abdominal and pelvic radiation. Conventional medical and surgical treatment often is disappointing. 5-Aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) is the active component in sulfasalazine and is effective in the treatment of distal ulcerative colitis. Four patients with radiation proctitis were treated with 4 g 5-ASA by enema nightly for two to six months. Patients were seen monthly, interviewed, and a sigmoidoscopic exam performed. No change was seen in the degree of mucosal inflammation on follow-up sigmoidoscopic exams. Three patients noted no change in their symptoms of bleeding, pain, or tenesmus. One patient noted initial improvement, but this was not sustained. 5-ASA enemas do not appear to be effective in the treatment of radiation proctitis.

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