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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2004 March;50(1):97-102

language: Italian

Need for hospital admission in patients with ulcerative colitis during maintenance with azathioprine

Actis G. C., Rossetti S., Rizzetto M., Fadda M., Palmo A


Aim. The aim of this study is to analyse the clinical course of ulcerative colitis during maintenance therapy with azathioprine, a drug which is still not proved to be able to modify the natural history of the disease.
Methods. A retrospective study is made of data regarding the frequency of hospital admission for patients with ulcerative colitis referring to a gastroenterological Day-Hospital between 1991 and 2000. The disease history of these patients has been divided into 2 sections: one preceding and the other following an index-event, identified as the beginning of a maintenance regimen with azathioprine; this allowed to find possible differences in the clinical course after the index-event. Patients were controls of themselves.
Results. Seventeen patients qualified for analysis. Remission from an acute severe attack of ulcerative colitis was reached by intravenous or oral cyclosporine for 14 of them and by prednisone for 3 of them. The maintenance treatment with azathioprine, which started in all but 1 patient (intention-to-treat), showed a reduction in the number of hospital admissions, decreasing from a mean of 2.12±0.69 in the preceding 4.2±4.3 years to a mean of 0.12±0.33 in the following 5.8±2.5 years (p=0.000).
Conclusion. Patients undergoing maintenance therapy with azathioprine showed face fewer relapses needing hospitalisation than those without azathioprine.

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