Long-term outcomes of patients with acute severe ulcerative colitis treated with cyclosporine rescue therapy

Heli Eronen, Pia Oksanen, Airi Jussila, Heini Huhtala, Ilona Helavirta, Tuire Ilus

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The early outcomes of ulcerative colitis (UC) after rescue therapy with cyclosporine A (CyA) are well known. Published data on the safety of this treatment in perioperative use and data on the long-term prognosis are scarce and are investigated here.

METHODS: All UC patients treated with CyA in Tampere University Hospital between 2009 and 2018 were reviewed from patient records.

RESULTS: A total of 182 patients were included with the median follow-up of 3.8 (range 0-13) years. Of all patients, 139 (76%) responded to CyA. A quarter of the responders achieved long-term remission and used thiopurines as maintenance therapy at the end of follow-up. Altogether 83 (46%) needed further enhancement of treatment with corticosteroids (Cs) and 57 (31%) with biologicals or small molecules. Of the nonresponders 27 (55%) were treated surgically within admission to index flare. Infliximab was used as a third-line rescue therapy for 16 patients of whom four benefitted. The overall colectomy rate in this series was 45%. When compared to Cs alone CyA did not increase the risk for severe postoperative complications in patients treated for severe treatment-refractory UC.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, despite the good initial response to CyA, a large proportion of patients relapsed during long-term follow-up and the colectomy rates remain high. Other therapy attempts after failure of CyA merely postpone surgery in many. We therefore recommend informing patients about the possibility of surgery prior to the initiation of rescue therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483–488
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number5
Early online date17 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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