Background: The role of thiopurines in altering the risk of colectomy in ulcerative colitis (UC) remains unclear.
Aims: To examine predictors of colectomy in UC and determine the impact of thiopurines on the risk of colectomy.
Methods: We constructed a population-based cohort of incident cases of UC in the United Kingdom between 1989 and 2009. We determined trends in thiopurine usage and colectomy for three defined cohorts: era 1 (1989-1995), era 2 (1996-2002), era 3 (2003-2009). We used Cox regression to determine predictors of colectomy and quantified the impact of duration and timing of thiopurine use on the risk of colectomy.
Results: We identified 8673 incident cases of UC. 5-year colectomy rates increased from 4.2%, 5.1% to 6.9% (P = 0.001) for era 1, era 2 and era 3, respectively, despite increasing thiopurine use. This was not significant after adjustment for predictors of colectomy (P = 0.06). There was a higher risk of colectomy in men (HR 1.44, 95% CI: 1.19-1.73), those diagnosed at an early age (HR 1.35, 95% CI: 1.04-1.75; 16-24 vs. 25-64) and early steroid users (HR 1.94, 95% CI: 1.59-2.37). 5-ASA users were less likely to require a colectomy (HR 0.35, 95% CI: 0.28-0.44). Amongst thiopurine users, those treated for greater than 12 months had a 71% reduction in risk of colectomy (HR 0.29, 95% CI: 0.21-0.40). Early thiopurines offered no additional benefit.
Conclusions: Thiopurine exposure for greater than 12 months reduces the likelihood of colectomy by 71%. Young men and those requiring steroids within 3 months of diagnosis are at greatest risk of colectomy, and most likely to benefit from sustained thiopurine use.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.