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Gastroenterology. 1997 Apr;112(4):1069-77.

A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of mesalamine in the maintenance of remission of Crohn's disease. The Canadian Mesalamine for Remission of Crohn's Disease Study Group.

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Department of Medicine and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



The efficacy of mesalamine for the maintenance of remission in patients with Crohn's disease is controversial. The aim of this study was to conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of mesalamine (750 mg four times a day for 48 weeks) in maintaining remission in 293 patients with Crohn's disease. Patients were stratified according to the method of induction of remission (medical or surgical).


Patients were assessed at weeks 4, 12, 24, 36, and 48. Relapse was defined as a Crohn's Disease Activity Index of >150 (+60 points over baseline).


Of the 293 patients, 246 (84%) returned for at least 4 weeks of follow-up and were included in the final analysis. Thirty of the 118 (25%) who received mesalamine had a relapse compared with 47 of 128 (36%) receiving placebo (P = 0.056). Among those with relapse, the time to relapse was 119 days for the mesalamine-treated patients compared with 109 days for placebo-treated patients (P = NS). However, 25% of mesalamine-treated patients had relapsed by 249 days of follow-up compared with 154 days for placebo-treated patients. Subgroup analysis showed that patients with ileocecal-colonic disease or patients who were women had fewer relapses on mesalamine therapy than placebo-treated patients (21% vs. 41%, P = 0.018; and 19% vs. 41%, P = 0.003, respectively).


Mesalamine treatment reduced relapse compared with placebo treatment, although conventional statistical significance was not achieved.

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