Background: Recent studies have focused on the importance of mucosal healing in ulcerative colitis (UC). However, it was still unclear whether higher doses of delayed-release mesalazine (mesalamine) could provide additional benefit.
Aim: To examine how two doses of delayed-release mesalazine (4.8 g/day and 2.4 g/day) from ASCEND I and II compare in their relative ability to heal colonic mucosa over time.
Methods: Primary data from two prospective 6-week, double-blind, randomised studies in patients with mildly to moderately active UC were pooled and analysed retrospectively. The mucosal healing analysis focuses on moderately active UC patients (n=391), comprising a majority of patients (84%). Additional analyses examined the relationship between mucosal healing and dose, clinical response to therapy and patient quality of life (Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire, IBDQ).
Results: At week 3, mucosal healing (endoscopy subscore of 0 or 1) was achieved in 65% of moderately active UC patients on 4.8 g/day and 58% of patients on 2.4 g/day (P=0.219). At week 6, this increased to 80% for 4.8 g/day and 68% for 2.4 g/day (P=0.012). Healing rates with the higher dose were also greater across all extents of disease and in patients with prior steroid use. At 6 weeks, clinical response to therapy and mucosal healing were found to be well correlated (kappa=0.694). Likewise, the change in IBDQ at week 6 showed a significant relationship with mucosal healing (P<0.0001).
Conclusion: Mucosal healing rates in UC achieved at 6 weeks were statistically significantly higher with delayed-release mesalazine at 4.8 g/day vs. 2.4 g/day.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.