Background/aims: Beclomethasone dipropionate is one of the topical corticosteroids which appear to have minimal systemic effects. We evaluated whether combined therapy with Beclomethasone dipropionate enemas and oral 5-aminosalicylic acid could be effective in patients suffering from ulcerative colitis not responsive to oral 5-aminosalicylic acid as monotherapy.
Patients: In twenty patients, non responders to 5-aminosalicylic acid treatment (2.4-3.6 g/day) given for at least 6 weeks, Beclomethasone dipropionate enemas (3 mg/60 ml/day) were added for 4 weeks.
Methods: Efficacy of the combination was evaluated before and at the end of the treatment using a clinical, endoscopic and histological score.
Results: After a four-week treatment period, a significant clinical improvement in stool frequency (p < 0.01), stool consistency (p < 0.001), blood (p < 0.001) and mucus in stools (p < 0.05), was observed. Endoscopy and biopsy confirmed an improvement in the activity score at the end of the treatment (p < 0.001). Six patients (30%) achieved remission, ten patients showed an improvement (50%) and four (20%) showed no benefits. No adverse event was observed.
Conclusions: Beclomethasone dipropionate enemas combined with oral 5-aminosalicylic acid may be a safe and useful therapeutic approach in the treatment of ulcerative colitis not responsive to oral 5-aminosalicylic acid alone.