Background: There have been a number of reports of colitis following exposure to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and salicylates.
Aim: To conduct a case-control analysis of new cases of colitis, with particular reference to the usage of NSAIDs and salicylates prior to the development of the disease.
Methods: One hundred and five consecutive new cases of colitis presenting to a single gastroenterologist were questioned about their recent usage of NSAIDs and salicylates. For comparison, the frequency of usage of these compounds was studied in two groups of 105 age- and sex-matched controls taken from hospital in-patients and community cases attending the Accident and Emergency Department.
Results: Of the 105 cases of colitis studied, 78 patients (74%) had been taking NSAIDs or salicylates prior to or during the development of their disease. By comparison, 20% of community controls were using NSAIDs or salicylates (P < 0.001) and 30% of hospital in-patients were taking these compounds (P < 0.001). Comparison of these frequencies with those of the colitis group gave odds ratios of 9.1 (4.5, 21.9) with the community controls and 6.2 (3.2, 13.5) with the hospital controls.
Conclusions: In new patients presenting with colitis, there is a significantly high frequency of antecedent exposure to NSAIDs or salicylates, supporting the concept that these agents may be important in the pathogenesis of colitis.