A large, Internet-based survey of a random sample of members of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America was undertaken to gain knowledge and understanding of patients' experiences with ulcerative colitis and first-line therapies. From 49,410 invitations to participate, 1,595 usable responses were received from patients with ulcerative colitis. Patients were prescribed a range of aminosalicylates for their ulcerative colitis. Treatments with the highest proportion of satisfied patients were associated with highest remission rates. Forty-three percent of patients considered their disease to be in remission; however, 74% reported disease relapse during the previous 12 months. Over 60% of patients reported that they were noncompliant with prescribed aminosalicylate dosing schedules, with reasons attributed to frequency of dosing, the number of pills, and the inconvenience of the medication. Many respondents reported that they had made significant lifestyle changes because of their ulcerative colitis, including spending more time at home (46%) and participating in fewer social activities (37%). When asked to describe their ideal treatment, patients considered high efficacy (97%), lack of side effects (74%), nonparenteral dosing (46%), nonrectal dosing (36%), low cost (23%), fewer pills (23%), and less frequent dosing (23%) as "very important." This study demonstrates that continuous symptomatic remission is central to patient satisfaction and that patients find currently available aminosalicylates to be inconvenient. Patients' ideal therapy would be an effective, oral formulation with fewer tablets, less frequent dosing, and minimal side effects. Development of such a therapy would, therefore, potentially improve both patient compliance and overall treatment success.