The clinical management of ulcerative colitis (UC) involves first treating the acute symptoms to induce remission, and then successfully maintaining it. Oral 5-aminosalicylic acids are safe and useful for maintaining remission in patients with UC. In terms of adherence, a once-daily form of 5-aminosalicylic acid is superior in maintaining remission as compared with split dosing. Patients at high risk of relapse may be candidates for treatment with thiopurines and/or biologics in the early stages of UC. Calcineurin inhibitors, such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus, are effective for severe, steroid-refractory UC patients. It is suggested that these patients use thiopurines as their maintenance therapy once they achieve remission with calcineurin inhibitors. Recent studies have confirmed that biologics are effective for inducing clinical and endoscopic remission of UC, and thus they may improve long-term prognosis of UC.
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