Medical management of ulcerative proctitis, proctosigmoiditis, and left-sided colitis

A Bitton
Seminars in Gastrointestinal Disease 2001, 12 (4): 263-74
Ulcerative colitis distal to the splenic flexure includes disease confined to the rectum (proctitis), rectosigmoid (proctosigmoiditis or distal colitis), or extending to the descending colon or splenic flexure (left-sided colitis). These subtypes represent up to 60% to 80% of newly presenting cases of ulcerative colitis. Although these conditions are defined by the extent of colon that is affected, they also share the characteristic of being amenable to topical therapy. In general, the course of disease is milder and symptoms are less severe than in patients with more extensive colonic involvement. Nonetheless, symptoms may significantly impair patients' health-related quality of life. Treatment options include the oral and/or rectal 5-aminosalicylate (5-ASA) preparations. Rectal therapy delivering higher concentrations of active medication (5-ASA or glucocorticoids) directly to the inflamed mucosa while minimizing systemic absorption provides a highly effective and safe treatment. Oral glucocorticoids are indicated in patients who are resistant to or intolerant of 5-ASA therapy. Immunomodulators have an important role in individuals with glucocorticoid dependent or glucocorticoid refractory disease. This article reviews the clinical diagnosis and current medical management of ulcerative proctitis, proctosigmoiditis, and left-sided ulcerative colitis, including patients resistant to conventional medical therapy.

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