Low bioavailability steroids in inflammatory bowel disease: an old chestnut or a whole new ballgame?

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Nov;8(8):949-62. doi: 10.1586/17474124.2014.924396. Epub 2014 May 31.


At present, therapy of inflammatory bowel disease is still far from being fully satisfactory; old drugs like steroids, for instance, still represent a cornerstone in the treatment of active disease despite their associated important side effects and incomplete clinical efficacy. In the last years, new therapeutic strategies have been suggested in order to avoid or at least limit steroids use and in this direction the so-called low bioavailability steroids appeared to be a promising therapeutic weapon; however, some grey areas about their real utility and manner of use still remain. The aim of this review is to evaluate the available evidence about the use of oral budesonide and beclomethasone dipropionate in inflammatory bowel disease, to critically assess their current position in the therapeutic algorithm of these diseases and to give simple and practical indications for their use in every-day clinical practice.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease; beclomethasone dipropionate; budesonide; inflammatory bowel disease; low bioavailability steroids; therapy; ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beclomethasone / administration & dosage
  • Beclomethasone / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biological Availability
  • Budesonide / administration & dosage
  • Budesonide / pharmacokinetics*
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Budesonide
  • Beclomethasone