Optimizing clinical use of mesalazine (5-aminosalicylic acid) in inflammatory bowel disease

Chadwick Williams, Remo Panaccione, Subrata Ghosh, Kevin Rioux
Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 2011, 4 (4): 237-48
Mesalazine [5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA)] has been used for over 30 years in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a highly effective, safe, and well-tolerated drug for treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, which represents most patients with this disease. Recent studies of patient adherence to 5-ASA therapies in ulcerative colitis have highlighted the need for regimens that enable long-term compliance to significantly reduce the risk of troublesome and debilitating flares in the short term, and possibly colon cancer in the long term. Indeed, much of the recent innovation in clinical use of 5-ASA in colitis has come from studies of novel delivery mechanisms and simplified oral dosing schedules. These studies have provided much needed clarity on essential matters such as starting dose, dose escalation, and efficacy in terms of the ideal clinical endpoint - mucosal healing. Various manufacturers are re-evaluating their products to determine the safety and efficacy of such dosing regimens. Although once widely employed in the treatment of Crohn's disease (CD), the accumulated body of evidence now suggests that there is a much more limited role for 5-ASA in this particular form of inflammatory bowel disease. Recent 5-ASA randomized-controlled trials, comparative studies, and outcomes research have led to refined treatment strategies and awareness for practitioners to better inform, engage and facilitate patients in optimal use of 5-ASA in inflammatory bowel disease.

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