Oral budesonide versus prednisolone in patients with active extensive and left-sided ulcerative colitis

Gastroenterology. 1996 Jun;110(6):1713-8. doi: 10.1053/gast.1996.v110.pm8964395.


Background & aims: Systemic glucocorticosteroids (GCSs) have proven efficacy in active ulcerative colitis but cause undesired systemic side effects. Therefore, new GCSs with high topical activity and a high rate of metabolism may be of clinical value in this condition. The aim of this study was to explore the efficacy and safety of the topically acting GCS budesonide in an oral controlled-release formulation in extensive or left-sided, mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis.

Methods: A 9-week, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was performed, and treatments with 10 mg budesonide or 40 mg prednisolone daily, both gradually tapered, were compared. Endoscopic improvement and effect on endogenous plasma cortisol were assessed.

Results: Thirty-four patients were administered budesonide, and 38 patients were administered prednisolone. Mean endoscopic scores improved significantly in both groups but without difference between the groups. Five patients in the budesonide group and 7 patients in the prednisolone group deteriorated and were withdrawn from the study. Morning plasma cortisol levels were suppressed in the prednisolone group (entry, 449 nmol/L; 2 weeks, 116 nmol/L; 4 weeks, 195 nmol/L) but were unchanged in the budesonide group.

Conclusions: The GCS budesonide administered in an oral controlled-release formulation seems to give an overall treatment result in active ulcerative colitis approaching that of prednisolone but without suppression of plasma cortisol levels. This concept merits further evaluation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Budesonide
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / blood
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Colonoscopy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnenediones / adverse effects
  • Pregnenediones / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Pregnenediones
  • Budesonide
  • Prednisolone
  • Hydrocortisone