Cyclosporin for Severe Ulcerative Colitis
Z. Symon, R. Stalnikowich, R. Eliakim, Z. Ackerman, D. Rachmilewitz
Dept. of Medicine, Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus and Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem
In recent years there have been numerous reports of successful treatment of resistant ulcerative colitis with cyclosporin. A series of 9 patients with moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis was treated with cyclosporin between September 1993 and October 1994. All 9 had failed to respond to conventional therapy, including salazopyrine and intravenous corticosteroids. They underwent colonoscopy and after contraindications to therapy were ruled out, received intravenous cyclosporin, 4 mg/kg/day for 7-10 days. They were discharged on oral cyclosporin with average serum levels maintained at 200 ng/ml. Response was assessed using the clinical score system of Schroeder et al. 2 out of 9 patients (22%) responded with full clinical remissions lasting more than 6 months. 6 patients had partial responses to the intravenous therapy, but symptoms resumed shortly after its cessation. Factors predicting favorable response to cyclosporin therapy were a shorter duration of disease with a fulminant clinical course. The success rate was less than that reported in the literature, possibly because of comparatively low serum cyclosporin levels. Potential complications of therapy and high cost preclude the routine use of cyclosporin in ulcerative colitis. Larger controlled studies are required to assess its efficacy and safety. Until such studies are available, cyclosporin may be tried in poor surgical risks or those not yet ready psychologically for total colectomy.