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Journal of Crohn's and Colitis: 9 (5)


Laurence J. Egan, Ireland

Associate Editors

Maria T. Abreu, USAShomron Ben-Horin, IsraelSilvio Danese, ItalyPeter Lakatos, HungaryMiles Parkes, UKGijs van den Brink, NLSéverine Vermeire, Belgium


Published on behalf of

Cyclosporine or infliximab as rescue therapy in severe refractory ulcerative colitis: Early and long-term data from a retrospective observational study

Filippo Mocciaro , Sara Renna , Ambrogio Orlando , Giulia Rizzuto , Emanuele Sinagra , Emanuele Orlando , Mario Cottone
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crohns.2011.11.021 681-686 First published online: 1 July 2012


Introduction: About 30-40% of patients with acute severe ulcerative colitis (UC) fail to respond to intensive intravenous (iv) corticosteroid treatment. Iv cyclosporine and infliximab are an effective rescue therapy in steroid-refractory UC patients but up to now it is still unclear which is the best therapeutic choice.

Methods: We reviewed our series of severe steroid-refractory colitis admitted consecutively since 1994 comparing two historical cohort treated with iv cyclosporine (2 mg/kg) or iv infliximab (5 mg/kg). The main outcome was the colectomy rate at 3 months, 12 months and at the end of the follow-up.

Results: A total of 65 patients were included: 35 in the cyclosporine group and 30 in the infliximab one. At 3 months the colectomy rate was 28.5% in the cyclosporine group and 17% in the infliximab group (p = 0.25), while 48% versus 17% at 12 months (p = 0.007, OR 4.7; 95% CI: 1.47-15.16). The 1-2-3 year cumulative colectomy rates were 48%, 54%, 57% in the cyclosporine group, and 17%, 23%, 27% in the infliximab group. At the end of the follow-up the colectomy rate was 60% versus 30% (p = 0.04, HR 2.2; 95% CI: 1.11-4.86). High level of C reactive protein (p = 0.04), extensive disease (p = 0.01) and no azathioprine treatment (p < 0.001) were related to the risk of colectomy.

Conclusion: This study, despite being retrospective, indicates that both cyclosporine and infliximab are effective in avoiding a colectomy in steroid-refractory UC patients. During the follow-up the risk of a colectomy is higher in patients treated with cyclosporine than with infliximab.

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Steroid-refractory
  • Cyclosporine
  • Infliximab
  • Colectomy
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