Background: Indigo naturalis (IN) consists of ligands for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and exhibits anti-inflammatory effects. Previously, we demonstrated that an 8-week treatment with oral IN is effective in inducing a clinical response in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Some UC patients with proctitis are refractory to topical mesalamine or corticosteroids and therefore require an alternative topical treatment. Objectives: We aimed to prospectively evaluate the safety and efficacy of IN suppositories in UC patients. Method: We performed an open-label, single-center, prospective pilot study from February 2018 to October 2018. A total of 10 patients with active UC, who had moderate to severe inflammation from the rectum to the sigmoid colon, were enrolled. The patients received a daily dose of 50 mg IN suppository for 4 weeks. The primary endpoint was safety at week 4. Results: Although 1 patient experienced anal pain, no serious adverse events were observed. At week 4, the rates of clinical remission and mucosal healing were 30 and 40%, respectively. Mayo rectal bleeding subscores significantly improved after treatment (1.80 ± 0.13 vs. 0.90 ± 0.28; p = 0.009). Approximately 80% of the patients with a baseline Mayo endoscopic subscore in the rectum (r-MES) of 2 achieved mucosal healing, but those with a baseline r-MES of 3 did not. Conclusions: We found that 4 weeks of IN suppository can be tolerated by UC patients, but its efficacy was limited by the severity of the disease. Further investigation will be needed in order to confirm the optimum dose of IN suppository for patients with UC.
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