Effect of budesonide enema on remission and relapse rate in distal ulcerative colitis and proctitis

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002 Jun;37(6):705-10. doi: 10.1080/00365520212512.


Background: Glucocorticosteroid enemas are equally effective as 5-ASA enemas in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis (UC). With the introduction of budesonide, the risk of systemic side effects may be reduced. We investigated whether budesonide enema, 2 mg/100 ml, administered twice daily (b.i.d.) could increase the remission rate in comparison with the once daily (o.d.) standard regimen. Furthermore, we evaluated whether 2 mg budesonide enema, given twice weekly, could have a relapse preventing effect.

Methods: 149 patients with active distal UC were treated in a controlled, double-blind multicentre study with two parallel groups: placebo enema in the morning and budesonide enema in the evening (i.e. 2 mg/day) or budesonide enema b.i.d. (i.e. 4 mg/day) until remission (absence of clinical symptoms and endoscopic healing) or at most 8 weeks. Patients in remission were randomized to either budesonide enema or placebo enema twice weekly for 24 weeks or until relapse.

Results: The remission rates at 4 weeks were 33% for o.d. and 41% for b.i.d. regimens (NS) and correspondingly 51% and 54% at 8 weeks (NS). The b.i.d. group had an increased frequency of impaired adrenal function, 32% versus 4.8% (P = 0.001). The relapse rates during maintenance treatment with budesonide enema and placebo were 15% versus 24% after 8 weeks, 31% versus 27% after 16 weeks and 41% versus 51% after 24 weeks (NS).

Conclusion: Budesonide enema 2 mg o.d. appears to be the optimal dosage in active distal UC. We could not show that budesonide enema twice weekly is sufficient to maintain remission.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Budesonide / therapeutic use*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Enema / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proctitis / drug therapy*
  • Proctitis / pathology
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Budesonide