Azathioprine is essential following cyclosporine for patients with steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis

Nobuyuki Miyake, Takafumi Ando, Kazuhiro Ishiguro, Osamu Maeda, Osamu Watanabe, Yutaka Hirayama, Keiko Maeda, Kazuhiro Morise, Masanobu Matsushita, Kazuhiro Furukawa, Kohei Funasaka, Masanao Nakamura, Ryoji Miyahara, Naoki Ohmiya, Hidemi Goto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To evaluate long-term prognosis following cyclosporine treatment by examining the rate of surgery avoidance among cyclosporine responders. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed clinical records for 29 patients diagnosed with severe steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis in our hospital from August 1997 to August 2008 and treated with cyclosporine by continuous intravenous infusion. All patients were treated with intravenous corticosteroids for more than 5 d prior to cyclosporine therapy. Administration was continued for up to 21 d under serum monitoring to maintain cyclosporine levels between 400 and 600 ng/mL. Clinical activity was assessed before and after cyclosporine therapy using the clinical activity index score, with a reduction of ≥ 5 considered to indicate a response. Among responders, we defined cases not requiring surgery for more than 5 years as exhibiting long-term efficacy of cyclosporine. Factors considered to be possibly predictive of long-term efficacy of cyclosporine were sex, age, disease duration, clinical activity index score, C-reactive protein level, hemoglobin level, disease extent, endoscopic findings, and clinical course. RESULTS: Cyclosporine was not discontinued due to side effects in any patient. Nineteen (65.5%) of 29 patients were considered responders. A statistically significant (P = 0.004) inverse association was observed between an endoscopic finding of "mucosal bleeding" and responsive cases. Fifteen (9 males, 6 females) of these 19 patients were followed for 5 years or more, of whom 9 (60%) exhibited long-term efficacy of cyclosporine. Of the 10 non-responders, 9 (90%) underwent surgery within 6 mo of cyclosporine therapy. None of the following factors had a significant impact on the long-term efficacy of cyclosporine: sex, age, duration of disease, clinical activity index score, C-reactive protein level, hemoglobin level, extent of disease, endoscopic findings, or clinical course. In contrast, a significant association was observed for maintenance therapy with azathioprine after cyclosporine therapy (P = 0.0014). CONCLUSION: Maintenance therapy with azathioprine might improve the long-term efficacy of continuously infused cyclosporine for severe steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-261
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 07-01-2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Azathioprine is essential following cyclosporine for patients with steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this