Pilot trial of nicotine patches as an alternative to corticosteroids in ulcerative colitis

J Gastroenterol. 1996 Aug;31(4):627-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02355071.


In ten patients with mild to moderate clinical relapses of ulcerative colitis during treatment with mesalazine (1 g t.i.d.) and with a previous history of poorly tolerated steroid courses, transdermal nicotine (15 mg daily) was added for 4 weeks. Clinical findings were assessed by employing Rachmilewitz's activity index. In 7 of the patients, clinical remission was achieved, the results persisting for up to 3 months after nicotine withdrawal. Endoscopic and histological examination, when performed, confirmed the clinical findings. Nicotine patches may represent a good alternative to steroids in selected patients with mild to moderate relapses of ulcerative colitis. The precise mechanism of action remains unknown.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Aminosalicylic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesalamine
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Pilot Projects
  • Recurrence
  • Steroids
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aminosalicylic Acids
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Steroids
  • Mesalamine
  • Nicotine