Safety Considerations with the Use of Corticosteroids and Biologic Therapies in Mild-to-Moderate Ulcerative Colitis

Cross RK1. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2017 Oct;23(10):1689-1701. doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000001261.
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1 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.


BACKGROUND: The risk of corticosteroid-associated adverse events can limit the use of systemic corticosteroids. Oral, topically acting, second-generation corticosteroids that deliver drug to the site of inflammation, and biologic therapies, are effective treatment alternatives. The aim of this review was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of topically acting corticosteroids and biologic therapies versus oral systemic corticosteroids for ulcerative colitis (UC).

METHODS: The PubMed database was searched for clinical and observational trials, systematic reviews, and case reports/series published between January 1950 and September 30, 2016. Search terms used included "corticosteroids," "beclomethasone dipropionate," "budesonide," "infliximab," "adalimumab," "golimumab," and "vedolizumab" in combination with "ulcerative colitis" or "inflammatory bowel disease."

RESULTS: A total of 582 studies were identified from PubMed searches. Only 1 direct comparative trial for oral topically acting corticosteroids and systemic corticosteroids was available, and no comparative trials versus biologic therapies were identified. In patients with mild-to-moderate UC, short-term (4-8 wk) oral beclomethasone dipropionate or oral budesonide multimatrix system demonstrated safety profiles comparable with placebo with few corticosteroid-related adverse events reported. Based on long-term data in patients with moderate-to-severe UC, biologics have a generally tolerable adverse event profile, although infections, infusion reactions, and autoimmune disorders were frequently reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Second-generation corticosteroids, beclomethasone dipropionate and budesonide multimatrix system, exhibited a favorable safety profile in patients with mild-to-moderate UC. For biologics, which are only indicated in moderate-to-severe UC, additional studies are needed to further ascertain the benefit to risk profile of these agents in patients with mild-to-moderate disease (see Video Abstract, Supplemental Digital Content, http://links.lww.com/IBD/B653).

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