Review article: The management of steroid dependency in ulcerative colitis

G. Bianchi Porro, A. Cassinotti, E. Ferrara, G. Maconi, S. Ardizzone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Approximately 20% of patients with ulcerative colitis have a chronic active disease often requiring several courses of systemic steroids in order to achieve remission, but followed by relapse of symptoms during steroid tapering or soon after their discontinuation. Although short term control of symptoms can be achieved with steroid treatment, this pattern of drug response, known as steroid-dependency, leads to important complications of the treatment, while a significant proportion of patients requires colectomy. Aim: To review the studies currently available specifically evaluating the management of steroid-dependent ulcerative colitis. Results: The clinical and biological mechanisms of steroid-dependency are not well understood compared with those determining steroid-refractoriness. Very few evidence-based data are available concerning the management of patients with steroid-dependent ulcerative colitis. The therapeutic role of aminosalicylates, thiopurines, methotrexate, infliximab, leukocyte apheresis and other drugs in the treatment of steroid-dependent ulcerative colitis are evaluated. Conclusions: Outcomes of studies in steroid-refractory patients may not be applicable to steroid-dependency. Trials are needed to define the correct approaches and new strategies to ameliorate the therapy of steroid-dependent ulcerative colitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-794
Number of pages16
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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