Medications for ulcerarive colitis do not cure ulcerative colitis itself. But they can help provide some relief for the pain and discomfort caused by symptoms. One of the other things medications can do for you is help you attain remission - and hold it.
The following medications for ulcerative colitis are used most often by doctors.
Sulfasalazine - Sulfasalazine combines two other drugs, sulfapyridine and 5-aminosalicyclic acid, which is often simply called 5-ASA. The role of sulfapyridine is to transport 5-aminosalicyclic acid to the intestines. But sulfapyridine has a variety of possible effects like headaches, nausea, vomiting, heartburn and diarrhea.
Aminosalicylates - There's also 5-ASA in this medication but no sulfapyridine. Therefore, it has no side effects and can be taken by those who can't take aminosalyicylates.. Aminosalicylates are made from salicylic acid, and there's evidence they have antioxidant properties. Your doctor can suggest several different methods for administering aminosalicylates: by mouth, by suppository, of with an enema. This group of medications is usually first treatment for individuals with colitis. They can also provide some relief when the patient suffers a relapse.
Corticosteroids - These medications include prednisone, methylprednisone, and hydrocortisone. Their primary benefit is that they reduce inflammation. Cortisteroids generally work best with patients who have moderate to severe cases. Delivery methods include enema, suppository, or a pill taken orally. They can also be administered intravenously.. Your doctor will recommend a delivery method based on where the inflammation is located in your colon. Certicosteroids are better when used in the short term. But they have been known to cause side effects in the long term, including weight gain, risk of infection. mood swings, hypertension, facial hair, diabetes, bone mass loss, and acne.
Immunomodulators - These have an effect on the immune system that reduces swelling and inflammation. Corticosteroids are usually recommended when corticosteroids and 5-ASA's haven't worked, or when the patient has become dependent of corticosteroids. They're popular with many patients because they are taken by mouth. However, they take a long time to work compared to other drugs, possibly as long as six months before the patient gets the full benefit.
Cyclosporine A - Patients who are suffering from active, severe cases are often treated with this drug. It may also be administered to those who have not had success with intravenous methods. Cyclosporine is often combined with 6-MP or azathioprine. While treatment with these medications is progressing, the patient may also need other drugs to help relax, get relief from pain,andr combat diarrhea or infection.
Once again, doctors know of no long-lasting cure for ulcerative colitis. However, medications for ulcerative colitis can help prevent flare ups and keep down inflammation. Plus, they can reduce or delay the need for surgery.
Your doctor will evaluate a number of factors in deciding on the appropriate ulcerative colitis medication for you. Among these factors are
* how much discomfort your symptoms are causing
* complications that could arise
* any side effects you may have to face
* other ulcerative colitis medications that have worked - or not worked - previously
Although many similarities exist from one case to another, ulcerative colitis affects different individuals in different ways. So it's possible your physician may have to try a number of therapies before finding one that will be best for you.