Mesalamine in the maintenance treatment of Crohn's disease: a meta-analysis adjusted for confounding variables

Gastroenterology. 1997 Nov;113(5):1465-73. doi: 10.1053/gast.1997.v113.pm9352848.


Background & aims: The benefit of mesalamine for maintenance of remission in Crohn's disease is controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of mesalamine in maintaining remission of quiescent Crohn's disease.

Methods: Pertinent randomized clinical trials were selected using MEDLINE (1986-1997) database, reference lists from published articles or reviews. Fifteen randomized, controlled trials of mesalamine maintenance therapy involving a total of 2097 patients were selected. The crude rates of patients with symptomatic relapse in treated and control groups were extracted according to the intention-to-treat method.

Results: Therapy with mesalamine significantly reduced the risk of symptomatic relapse (pooled risk difference, -6.3%; 95% confidence interval, -10.4% to -2.1%). The pooled risk difference was significant in the postsurgical setting (-13.1%; 95% confidence interval, -21.8% to -4.5%) but not in the medical setting (-4.7%; 95% confidence interval, -9.6% to 2.8%). Multivariate model predicts that the probability of symptomatic relapse significantly decreases with mesalamine treatment, by increasing proportion of patients with ileal disease, with prolonged disease duration, and with surgically induced remission.

Conclusions: Mesalamine may be recommended for maintaining remission of quiescent Crohn's disease. The benefit is mainly observed in the postsurgical setting, in patients with ileitis and with prolonged disease duration.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Mesalamine / adverse effects
  • Mesalamine / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Mesalamine