Intravenous corticosteroids in moderately active ulcerative colitis refractory to oral corticosteroids

Jordina Llaó, Juan E. Naves, Alexandra Ruiz-Cerulla, Laura Marín, Míriam Mañosa, Lorena Rodríguez-Alonso, Eduard Cabré, Esther Garcia-Planella, Jordi Guardiola, Eugeni Domènech

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18 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation. Background: Oral corticosteroids remain the mainstay of treatment for moderately active ulcerative colitis (UC). In patients who fail to respond to oral corticosteroids, attempting the intravenous route before starting rescue therapies is an alternative, although no evidence supports this strategy. Aim: To evaluate clinical outcomes after a course of intravenous corticosteroids for moderate attacks of UC according to the failed oral corticosteroids or not. Methods: All episodes of active UC admitted to three university hospitals between January 2005 and December 2011 were identified and retrospectively reviewed. Only moderately active episodes treated with intravenous corticosteroids were included. Treatment outcome was compared between episodes which failed to outpatient oral corticosteroids for the index flare and those directly treated by intravenous corticosteroids. Results: 110 episodes were included, 45% of which failed to outpatient oral corticosteroids (median dose 60. mg/day [IQR 50-60], median length of course 10. days [IQR 7-17]). Initial response (defined as mild severity or inactive disease at day 7 after starting intravenous corticosteroids, without rescue therapy) was achieved in 75%, with no between-group differences (78% vs. 75%). After a median follow-up of 12. months (IQR 4-24), 35% of the initial responders developed steroid-dependency and up to 13% required colectomy. Unsuccessful response to oral corticosteroids was the only factor associated with steroid-dependency in the long term (P. =. 0.001). Conclusions: Intravenous corticosteroids are efficient for inducing remission in moderately active UC unresponsive to oral corticosteroids, but almost half of these patients develop early steroid-dependency. Alternative therapeutic strategies should be assessed in this clinical setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1528
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Corticosteroids
  • Intravenous
  • Oral
  • Refractory
  • Ulcerative colitis


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