Send to

Choose Destination
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Dec;12(12):1207-16.

Maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis: a comparison between balsalazide 3 g daily and mesalazine 1.2 g daily over 12 months. ABACUS Investigator group.

Author information

Gastroenterology unit, City General Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.



Despite widespread use of aminosalicylates as maintenance treatment for ulcerative colitis (UC), patients still report troublesome symptoms, often nocturnally.


To compare the efficacy and safety of balsalazide (Colazide) with mesalazine (Asacol) in maintaining UC remission.


A randomized, double-blind comparison of balsalazide 3 g daily (1.04 g 5-ASA) and mesalazine 1.2 g daily for 12 months, in 99 (95 evaluable) patients in UC remission.


Balsalazide patients experienced more asymptomatic nights (90% vs. 77%, P=0.0011) and days (58% vs. 50%, N.S.) during the first 3 months. Balsalazide patients experienced more symptom-free nights per week (6.4+/-1.7 vs. 4.7+/-2.8; P=0.0006) and fewer nights per week with blood on their stools or on the toilet paper, mucus with their stools or with sleep disturbance resulting from symptoms or lavatory visits (each P < 0.05). Fewer balsalazide patients relapsed within 3 months (10% vs. 28%; P=0.0354). Remission at 12 months was 58%, in both groups. Similar proportions of patients reported adverse events (61% balsalazide vs. 65% mesalazine). There were five serious adverse events (two balsalazide, three mesalazine) and four withdrawals due to unacceptable adverse events (three balsalazide, one mesalazine), of which one in each group was also a serious adverse event.


Balsalazide 3 g/day and mesalazine 1.2 g/ day effectively maintain UC remission and are equally well tolerated over 12 months. At this dose balsalazide prevents more relapses during the first 3 months of treatment and controls nocturnal symptoms more effectively.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center