Background: The goal of this work was to critically evaluate the published studies on the treatment of ulcerative proctitis (UP) and left-sided ulcerative colitis (L-UC). The results of this review provided the content for the accompanying treatment guidelines, Clinical Guidelines for the Medical Management of Left-sided Ulcerative Colitis and Ulcerative Proctitis: Summary Statement.
Methods: All English language articles published between 1995 and September 2005 were identified through a comprehensive literature search using OVID and PubMed. The quality of the data supporting or rejecting the use of specific therapies was categorized by a data quality grading scale. An "A+" grade was assigned to treatment supported by multiple high-quality randomized controlled trials with consistent results, whereas a "D" grade was given to therapy supported only by expert opinion. The therapeutic efficacy of a treatment was defined by its success in treating UP and L-UC compared with placebo. A medication was ranked as "excellent" if it was specifically studied for UP and L-UC and had consistently positive results compared with placebo or another agent. Quality and efficacy scores were agreed on by author consensus.
Results: For the acute treatment of UP or L-UC, the rectally administered corticosteroids and mesalazine (5-ASA), either alone or in combination with oral 5-ASAs, are the most effective therapy: evidence quality, A+; efficacy, excellent. Only rectally administered 5-ASA received an A+/excellent rating for maintenance of remission. Infliximab received an A+ grade for induction and maintenance of remission but only a "good" rating because the studies were performed in all UC, not specifically UP or L-UC.
Conclusions: This critical evaluation of treatment provides a "report card" on medications available for the management of patients with UP and L-UC. The guidelines should provide a useful reference and supplement for physicians treating UC patients.