Ulcerative colitis therapy: Importance of delivery mechanisms

Jeremy Rochester, Maria T. Abreu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Since the initial observation that mesalamine or 5-aminosalicylate (5-ASA) has an anti-inflammatory effect on ulcerative colitis, investigators have been trying to improve on the delivery mechanisms of this compound. As it is believed that the anti-inflammatory effect of 5-ASAs is mediated topically, current formulations are designed to release 5-ASA in the small intestine and colon, or predominantly in the colon. A dose-response curve is seen with some preparations of mesalamine but not all. In general, 5-ASAs are effective in patients with ulcerative colitis and much less effective in Crohn's disease. Evidence demonstrates that 5-ASAs are effective for induction of remission and maintenance of remission. Preparations that deliver 5-ASA in a pH-dependent manner are most affected by variability in luminal pH, whereas those that depend on bacterial cleavage for release of the active 5-ASA are most affected by transit time. Most studies have not compared different preparations of mesalamine and examined differences in colonic delivery. Depending on the endpoint examined in the studies, efficacy of the various 5-ASA products appears similar at the most optimal doses. For a given patient, however, it may be necessary to experiment with more than one preparation if an initial trial results in a suboptimal response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalReviews in Gastroenterological Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-aminosalicylate (5-ASA) agents
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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