Background: The use of heparin for the treatment of ulcerative colitis has been evaluated in several open and controlled trials, with varying outcomes.
Aim: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of heparin as supplemental therapy compared with conventional therapy in patients with ulcerative colitis.
Methods: All randomized trials comparing heparin supplementation to conventional therapy were included from electronic databases. Statistical analysis was performed with review manager 4.2.8 (The Cochrane Collaboration, Oxford, UK). Sub-analysis and sensitivity analysis were also performed.
Results: Eight randomized-controlled trials, investigating a total of 454 participants, met the inclusion criteria. The odds ratio (OR) for the efficacy of heparin supplementation vs. conventional therapy was 0.78 (95% CI = 0.50-1.21). Few serious adverse events were observed. The OR for the efficacy of unfractionated heparin and low-molecular-weight heparin vs. conventional therapy was 0.26 (95% CI = 0.07-0.93) and 0.92 (95% CI = 0.57-1.47), respectively. The OR for the efficacy of heparin vs. conventional therapy with placebo was 0.87 (95% CI = 0.53-1.44).
Conclusions: Our meta-analysis suggests that administration of heparin in patients with ulcerative colitis is safe, but no additive benefit over conventional therapy is indicated.