Medical Treatment for Microscopic Colitis: A Community Hospitals Experience

Abdallah Haidar, Savreet Kaur, Nancy Jackson, Jose Mari Parungao, Michael Piper, Alan Cutler


Background: Lymphocytic colitis (LC) is a chronic disorder characterized by watery diarrhea. This study sought to evaluate if LC recurs after therapy, and the time frame in which this occurs. Secondary objectives included length and type of therapy, drug-free intervals, and reasons for drug discontinuation.

Methods: A retrospective chart review between January 1, 2008 and October 30, 2015 of patients with biopsy-confirmed lymphocytic, collagenous, or microscopic colitis was conducted. Patient-reported average bowel movements/day were reviewed. Demographic data, dates of colonoscopy, follow-up, type and dose of medications used, and therapy start/stop dates were reviewed.

Results: Patients presenting with colonoscopic documented LC (n = 114) were predominantly female (88%), Caucasian (97%), with mean bowel movements/day of five. A total of 58/114 (51%) patients were placed on a therapy. Patients taking budesonide saw bowel movements/day reduced from 4.7 to 2.4 compared to 5.8 to 2.8 for those given 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA). First-line medications budesonide and 5-aminosalicylic acid failed in 12/58 (21%) of patients, other drugs also resulted in therapy changes. Thirty-five percent required their initial therapy changed and of those 40% required a second change. Symptom exacerbations were documented during therapy for 19% of patients; therapy changes resulted in good response.

Conclusions: Almost half of all LC cases (56/114) gradually improved without requiring therapy. Seventy-six percent of our treated patients responded well to budesonide when used as the first-line therapy. Similarly, 61.5% responded to 5-ASA. Budesonide was the drug of choice for flares. Tailoring drug therapy to meet individual patients needs appears to be the best current approach to managing LC.

Gastroenterol Res. 2017;10(6):329-333


Lymphocytic colitis; Collagenous colitis; Microscopic colitis

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