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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2008, Article ID 237185, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Nicotine Enemas for Active Crohn's Colitis: An Open Pilot Study

1Department of Gastroenterology, Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK
2St Mary's Pharmaceutical Unit, Quadrant Centre, Cardiff Business Park, Llanishen, Cardiff CF14 5RA, UK

Received 7 November 2007; Accepted 19 February 2008

Academic Editor: Julian Walters

Copyright © 2008 J. R. Ingram et al. 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.


Background. Smoking has a detrimental effect in Crohn's disease (CD), but this may be due to factors in smoking other than nicotine. Given that transdermal nicotine benefits ulcerative colitis (UC), and there is a considerable overlap in the treatment of UC and CD, the possible beneficial effect of nicotine has been examined in patients with Crohn's colitis. Aims. To assess the efficacy and safety of nicotine enemas in active Crohn's colitis. Patients. Thirteen patients with active rectosigmoid CD; 3 patients were excluded because they received antibiotics. Methods. Subjects were given 6 mg nicotine enemas, each day for 4 weeks, in an open pilot study. At the beginning and end of the trial, a Crohn's disease activity index (CDAI) score was calculated, sigmoidoscopy was performed, and haematological inflammatory markers measured. Results. Mean CDAI decreased from 202 to 153—the score was reduced in 6 patients, unchanged in 3, and increased in one. Frequency of bowel movements decreased in 8 patients and the sigmoidoscopy grade was reduced in 7. Mean C-reactive protein decreased from 22.0 to 12.3 mg/L. There were no withdrawals due to adverse events. Conclusions. In this relatively small study of patients with active Crohn's colitis, 6 mg nicotine enemas appeared to be of clinical benefit in most patients. They were well tolerated and safe.