Current approaches to the management of new-onset ulcerative colitis
Renée Marchioni Beery,1 Sunanda Kane2
1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, USA; 2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
Abstract: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an idiopathic, inflammatory gastrointestinal disease of the colon. As a chronic condition, UC follows a relapsing and remitting course with medical maintenance during periods of quiescent disease and appropriate escalation of therapy during times of flare. Initial treatment strategies must not only take into account current clinical presentation (with specific regard for extent and severity of disease activity) but must also take into consideration treatment options for the long-term. The following review offers an approach to new-onset UC with a focus on early treatment strategies. An introduction to the disease entity is provided along with an approach to initial diagnosis. Stratification of patients based on clinical parameters, disease extent, and severity of illness is paramount to determining course of therapy. Frequent assessments are required to determine clinical response, and treatment intensification may be warranted if expected improvement goals are not appropriately reached. Mild-to-moderate UC can be managed with aminosalicylates, mesalamine, and topical corticosteroids with oral corticosteroids reserved for unresponsive cases. Moderate-to-severe UC generally requires oral or intravenous corticosteroids in the short-term with consideration of long-term management options such as biologic agents (as initial therapy or in transition from steroids) or thiopurines (as bridging therapy). Patients with severe or fulminant UC who are recalcitrant to medical therapy or who develop disease complications (such as toxic megacolon) should be considered for colectomy. Early surgical referral in severe or refractory UC is crucial, and colectomy may be a life-saving procedure. The authors provide a comprehensive evidence-based approach to current treatment options for new-onset UC with discussion of long-term therapeutic efficacy and safety, patient-centered perspectives including quality of life and medication compliance, and future directions in related inflammatory bowel disease care.
Keywords: ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, new-onset treatment, acute management
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