Background & aims: Oral budesonide effectively induces clinical remission in patients with collagenous colitis, a debilitating illness characterized by chronic watery/loose diarrhea, but there is a high rate of relapse after treatment cessation.
Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study evaluated the efficacy and safety of long-term therapy with oral budesonide (Entocort CIR capsules) for maintenance of clinical remission of collagenous colitis. Patients were aged >18 years with histologically proven collagenous colitis and >3 watery/loose stools per day on >or=4 of the prior 7 days. Open-label oral budesonide 9 mg/d was administered to all patients for 6 weeks. Patients in clinical remission (<or=3 stools per day) at week 6 were subsequently randomized to double-blind oral treatment with budesonide 6 mg/d or matching placebo for 6 months. Relapse was defined as >3 stools per day on >or=4 consecutive days (and included patients withdrawn because of adverse events).
Results: Of 48 enrolled patients, 46 (96%) achieved clinical remission at week 6 and were randomized to maintenance budesonide or placebo. There were 21 relapses during maintenance therapy, and almost all occurred during the first 2 months. Budesonide therapy was associated with a significantly lower cumulative rate of relapse compared with placebo (6/23 [26%] and 15/23 [65%], respectively; P = .022), and high correlation between clinical remission and histologic improvement was observed. Budesonide was well tolerated with no serious adverse events.
Conclusions: Oral budesonide 6 mg/d is efficacious and well tolerated for long-term maintenance of clinical remission in patients with collagenous colitis.