Ulcerative Colitis : Treatment
There is no cure for ulcerative colitis. The goals of treatment are to induce and maintain remission, minimize therapy side effects, and improve the quality of life. Medical therapy includes anti-inflammatory drugs such as 5-aminosalicylic acid compounds (sulfasalazine, mesalamine) administered orally or via enema or suppositories; glucocorticoids for induction only; immunomodulators such as azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine; anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antibodies (Infliximab). Surgical therapy consists of colectomy which becomes necessary in about 20% of patients within first 2 years due to fulminant disease (toxic colitis). Colectomy is also performed if dysplasia or cancer is detected during surveillance colonoscopy. The construction of ileo-anal anastomosis maintains the anal sphincter function and allows the patient to have a relatively normal bowel function after colectomy.