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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 4, Issue 7, Pages 476-480
IDB: New Salicylates

Maintaining Remission in Distal Ulcerative Colitis and Ulcerative Proctitis

PB Miner and WL Biddle

University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA

Copyright © 1990 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Maintenance of remission is an important consideration in the medical care of patients with ulcerative colitis. The relapse rate is high when medications are discontinued. Many types of medications have been investigated for potential efficacy of maintaining remission. This paper reviews the literature on maintenance therapy for both distal and universal ulcerative colitis. Sulphasalazine is the drug of choice since il is effective and relatively low m cost. 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) derivatives, both oral and rectal forms, are also effective. Other medications such as metronidazole, cromolyn sodium and prednisone have nor been shown to be effective maintenance therapy. Strategies for maintenance are outlined and include possible regimens with 5-ASA enemas. While 1 g of 5-ASA is effective, the long term relapse rate is similar co that seen with sulphasalazine. Patients capered co 1 g 5-ASA enemas have a good chance of maintaining remission if the colitis does not flare within the first few months, because most colites will flare up early on. Other possible regimens include intermittent enemas, eg, every other night or every third night. Patients in remission can be safely maintained in remission with sulphasalazine or one of its 5-ASA derivatives.