Background/aim: Active ulcerative colitis (UC) is often associated with increased peripheral granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages which show activation behavior and prolonged survival time. Further, mucosal granulocyte level parallels intestinal inflammation and can predict UC relapse. Accordingly, our aim was to see if adsorptive granulocyte/monocyte apheresis (GMA) can promote remission and spare steroid in patients with steroid-dependent (SD) UC.
Methods: 69 SD patients, at the time of relapse, were randomly assigned to groups I (n = 46) and II (n = 23). The mean dose of prednisolone (PSL) was 12 mg/day/patient, CAI (clinical activity index) 9.2 in both groups. Group I patients were given up to 11 GMA sessions over 10 weeks with Adacolumn; in group II, the mean dose of PSL was increased to 30 mg/day/patient.
Results: At week 12, 83% of group I and 65% of group II patients were in remission, CAI in group I was 1.7 (p < 0.001) and in group II, 2.5 (p < 0.001). Further, during the 12 weeks of treatment, the cumulative amount of PSL received per patient was 1,157 mg in group I and 1,938 mg in group II (p = 0.001).
Conclusions: GMA appeared to be an effective adjunct to standard drug therapy of moderately severe UC by promoting remission and sparing steroids.