Intravenous (IV) cyclosporine A (CSA) is one of the treatments of choice for patients with steroidrefractory severe ulcerative colitis (UC). In this study, we evaluated the overall experience with CSA treatment in UC patients, from their initial response to long-term prognosis. Methods The medical records of 72 patients admitted to our hospital with a severe UC flare-up and treated with IV CSA between November 1996 and October 2008 were reviewed retrospectively. The initial response to CSA was assessed using a clinical activity index, and colectomy was assigned as the endpoint for the long-term prognosis. Results Overall, 53 of 72 (73.6%) patients responded initially to CSA. We could not determine any specific parameters that predicted an initial response. A life-table analysis for all patients revealed that 54.4% of patients required a colectomy within 11 years. The long-term risk of surgery was associated with a shorter disease duration, history of adverse reactions against medications and lack of immunomodulator use. In addition, endoscopic improvement at day 14 was associated with colectomy at 1 year, but not withthe long-term prognosis. Conclusions Although CSA can exert high initial efficacy for severe attacks of UC, [50% of patients who relapse require a colectomy. Specifically, mucosal healing evaluated by endoscopy was associated with the 1-year colectomy rate. In contrast, a history of adverse drug reactions was correlated with the long-term colectomy rate. Therefore, we propose that treatment of severe UC with CSA requires consideration of both initial remission and longterm maintenance as management goals.
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