Corticosteroids and Mesalamine Versus Corticosteroids for Acute Severe Ulcerative Colitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

ComboMesa investigators

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims: Corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment for hospitalized patients with acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC). However, whether the addition/continuation of mesalamine with corticosteroids during hospitalization is superior to corticosteroids alone is unknown. Methods: This was a randomized controlled, investigator-blinded, clinical trial conducted in 10 centers in 7 countries. Patients hospitalized with ASUC (Lichtiger score ≥10) were eligible. Patients received corticosteroids alone or corticosteroid + mesalamine (4 g/day mesalamine) by a stratified randomization according to mesalamine use before admission. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients who responded to treatment by day 7, defined by a drop >3 points in the Lichtiger score and an absolute score <10 without the need for rescue medications or colectomy. Results: Three hundred forty-six patients were screened, and 149 were included (70/149 female; median age, 41 years). Of these, 73 received corticosteroids + mesalamine, and 76 received corticosteroids alone. For the primary outcome, 53 of 73 patients (72.6%) receiving corticosteroids with mesalamine responded versus 58 of 76 patients (76.3%) on corticosteroids alone (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% confidence interval, 0.39–1.72; P =.60). There was no difference between groups in duration of hospitalization, C-reactive protein normalization rate, or colectomy rate up to day 90. The need for biologics among patients receiving combination of corticosteroids with mesalamine was numerically lower by day 30 (P =.11) and day 90 (P =.07). Conclusions: In this randomized controlled trial, combination of mesalamine with corticosteroids did not benefit hospitalized patients with ASUC more than corticosteroids alone. An exploratory signal for a reduced need for biologics at 90 days in the mesalamine group merits further evaluation. ID: NCT01941589.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2868-2875.e1
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 AGA Institute

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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