A substantial proportion of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) have failed conventional therapies such as steroids, immunosuppressants or TNF-antibodies, or have experienced side effects. This article reviews the pharmacological properties of vedolizumab (VDZ), its efficacy and side effects in UC. By its relatively specific gut-selective mode of action, VDZ's safety profile appears more favorable than that of anti-TNF therapies. VDZ is more effective than placebo for the induction and maintenance of remission in moderate-to-severe UC in both naïve patients and patients who have failed anti-TNF treatment. However, in some patients, VDZ has a slower onset of action. But, to place VDZ as a first-line therapy, it must go head-to-head with azathioprine and anti-TNF antibodies in future studies.
Keywords: Vedolizumab; efficacy; pharmacokinetics; side effects; ulcerative colitis.