Long-term outcome in patients with ulcerative colitis treated with intravenous cyclosporine A is determined by previous exposure to thiopurines

J Crohns Colitis. 2010 Oct;4(4):398-404. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Apr 18.


Background and aim: Rescue therapy with intravenous cyclosporine A (CsA) helps to avoid colectomy in a substantial proportion of patients with severe ulcerative colitis (UC) but the impact on long-term outcome remains unclear. Therefore, we aimed to define predictive factors for colectomy in patients treated with intravenous CsA for severely active UC.

Methods: A retrospective, single-center study with a minimum follow-up of 18 months was performed.

Results: A total of 64 patients were evaluable (median age 33 years [range 17-80 years], female 54.7%). Median intravenous CsA dose was 4 mg/kg/day (range 2-5mg/kg/day). After a median follow-up of 65 months (range 2-160 months), 19 patients (29.7%) underwent colectomy, 15 within 18 months. Of the various baseline parameters tested, only previous non-response to thiopurine treatment (p=0.006) was associated with an increased risk of colectomy. During 18 months follow-up, thiopurine-naïve patients receiving thiopurine maintenance therapy after intravenous CsA (32/64, 50.0%) underwent colectomy in 12.5% of cases. The colectomy rate was 27.3% among 22 patients previously non-responsive to thiopurines who continued treatment after intravenous CsA, compared to 50.0% in the 10 patients who discontinued thiopurines prior to intravenous CsA or who never received thiopurines (p=0.037).

Conclusions: The long-term colectomy rate after intravenous CsA in patients with severely active UC was relatively low in our series compared to the literature. Concomitant treatment with thiopurines was the only predictor for a reduced risk of colectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Colectomy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Purines / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Purines
  • Cyclosporine
  • Azathioprine