Clinical practice guidelines for the medical management of nonhospitalized ulcerative colitis: the Toronto consensus

Gastroenterology. 2015 May;148(5):1035-1058.e3. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2015.03.001. Epub 2015 Mar 4.


Background & aims: The medical management of ulcerative colitis (UC) has improved through the development of new therapies and novel approaches that optimize existing drugs. Previous Canadian consensus guidelines addressed the management of severe UC in the hospitalized patient. We now present consensus guidelines for the treatment of ambulatory patients with mild to severe active UC.

Methods: A systematic literature search identified studies on the management of UC. The quality of evidence and strength of recommendations were rated according to the Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Statements were developed through an iterative online platform and then finalized and voted on by a working group of specialists.

Results: The participants concluded that the goal of therapy is complete remission, defined as both symptomatic and endoscopic remission without corticosteroid therapy. The consensus includes 34 statements focused on 5 main drug classes: 5-aminosalicylate (5-ASA), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapies, and other therapies. Oral and rectal 5-ASA are recommended first-line therapy for mild to moderate UC, with corticosteroid therapy for those who fail to achieve remission. Patients with moderate to severe UC should undergo a course of oral corticosteroid therapy, with transition to 5-ASA, thiopurine, anti-TNF (with or without thiopurine or methotrexate), or vedolizumab maintenance therapy in those who successfully achieve symptomatic remission. For patients with corticosteroid-resistant/dependent UC, anti-TNF or vedolizumab therapy is recommended. Timely assessments of response and remission are critical to ensuring optimal outcomes.

Conclusions: Optimal management of UC requires careful patient assessment, evidence-based use of existing therapies, and thorough assessment to define treatment success.

Keywords: 5-Aminosalicylate; Anti–Tumor Necrosis Factor; Corticosteroid; Probiotics; Thiopurine; Ulcerative Colitis; Vedolizumab.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / standards*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Consensus
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Gastroenterology / standards*
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Remission Induction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Gastrointestinal Agents