American Gastroenterological Association Technical Review on the Management of Mild-to-Moderate Ulcerative Colitis

Singh S1, Feuerstein JD2, Binion DG3, Tremaine WJ4. Gastroenterology. 2018 Dec 18. pii: S0016-5085(18)35406-4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.12.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Author information

1 Division of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.

2 Division of Gastroenterology and Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

3 Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

4 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.


Most patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) have mild-to-moderate disease activity, with low risk of colectomy, and are managed by primary care physicians or gastroenterologists. Optimal management of these patients decreases the risk of relapse and proximal disease extension, and may prevent disease progression, complications, and need for immunosuppressive therapy. With several medications (eg, sulfasalazine, diazo-bonded 5-aminosalicylates [ASA], mesalamines, and corticosteroids, including budesonide) and complex dosing formulations, regimens, and routes, to treat a disease with variable anatomic extent, there is considerable practice variability in the management of patients with mild-moderate UC. Hence, the American Gastroenterological Association prioritized clinical guidelines on this topic. To inform clinical guidelines, this technical review was developed in accordance with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation framework for interventional studies. Focused questions included the following: (1) comparative effectiveness and tolerability of different oral 5-ASA therapies (sulfalsalazine vs diazo-bonded 5-ASAs vs mesalamine; low- (<2 g) vs standard (2-3 g/d) vs high-dose (>3 g/d) mesalamine); (2) comparison of different dosing regimens (once-daily vs multiple times per day dosing) and routes (oral vs rectal vs both oral and rectal); (3) role of oral budesonide in patients mild-moderate UC; (4) comparative effectiveness and tolerability of rectal 5-ASA and corticosteroid formulations in patients with distal colitis; and (5) role of alternative therapies like probiotics, curcumin, and fecal microbiota transplantation in the management of mild-moderate UC.

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