Background & aims: Cyclosporine (CSA) has been shown to be effective in steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis (UC) and as an alternative to glucocorticosteroids in patients with severe attacks of UC. Our aim was to investigate the long-term efficacy of CSA.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients admitted to our institution with an attack of UC treated with intravenous CSA between November 1992 and October 2004. Patients who responded to intravenous CSA were switched to Neoral for 3 months. Kaplan-Meier curves were used for survival analysis with quantitative variables compared using a 2-tailed Student t test with qualitative variables and differences compared with a chi(2) analysis.
Results: A total of 118 (83%) of the 142 patients had an initial response to CSA and avoided colectomy during hospitalization. Of the 118 patients, 41 (35%) [corrected] required a future colectomy. The rate of colectomy in those already on azathioprine compared with those starting azathioprine concurrently with CSA was 59% vs 31%, respectively (P < .05). Also, 88% of patients already on azathioprine and requiring colectomy underwent surgery within the first year of receiving CSA. Life-table analysis shows that although only 33% of patients require colectomy at 1 year, 88% will require colectomy at 7 years.
Conclusions: CSA is an effective short- to medium-term treatment for patients with severe UC but at 7 years, 88% of patients will require a colectomy. Azathioprine-naive patients have better outcomes.