Interventions for treating lymphocytic colitis

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Background: Lymphocytic colitis is a cause of chronic diarrhea. It is a subtype of microscopic colitis characterized by chronic, watery, non-bloody diarrhea and normal endoscopic and radiologic findings. The etiology of this disorder is unknown.Therapy is based mainly on case series and uncontrolled trials, or by extrapolation of data for treating collagenous colitis, a related disorder. This review is an update of a previously published Cochrane review. Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of treatments for clinically active lymphocytic colitis. Search methods: The MEDLINE, PUBMED and EMBASE databases were searched from inception to 11 August 2016 to identify relevant papers. Manual searches from the references of included studies and relevant review articles were performed. Abstracts from major gastroenterological meetings were also searched to identify research submitted in abstract form only. The trial registry web site was searched to identify registered but unpublished trials. Finally, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and the Cochrane Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Functional Bowel Disorders Group Specialized Trials Register were searched for other studies. Selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials assessing medical therapy for patients with biopsy-proven lymphocytic colitis were considered for inclusion Data collection and analysis: Data was independently extracted by at least two authors. Any disagreements were resolved by consensus. Data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat (ITT) basis. The primary outcome was clinical response as defined by the included studies. Secondary outcome measures included histological response as defined by the included studies, quality of life as measured by a validated instrument and the occurrence of adverse events. Risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for dichotomous outcomes. The methodological quality of included studies was evaluated using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The overall quality of the evidence supporting the primary outcome and selected secondary outcomes was assessed using the GRADE criteria. Data were combined for analysis if they assessed the same treatments. Dichotomous data were combined using a pooled RR along with corresponding 95% CI. A fixed-effect model was used for the pooled analysis. Main results: Five RCTs (149 participants) met the inclusion criteria. These studies assessed bismuth subsalicylate versus placebo, budesonide versus placebo, mesalazine versus mesalazine plus cholestyramine and beclometasone dipropionate versus mesalazine. The study which assessed mesalazine versus mesalazine plus cholestyramine and the study which assessed beclometasone dipropionate versus mesalazine were judged to be at high risk of bias due to lack of blinding. The study which compared bismuth subsalicylate versus us placebo was judged as low quality due to a very small sample size and limited data. The other 3 studies were judged to be at low risk of bias. Budesonide (9 mg/day for 6 to 8 weeks) was significantly more effective than placebo for induction of clinical and histological response. Clinical response was noted in 88% of budesonide patients compared to 38% of placebo patients (2 studies; 57 participants; RR 2.03, 95% CI 1.25 to 3.33; GRADE = low). Histological response was noted in 78% of budesonide patients compared to 33% of placebo patients (2 studies; 39 patients; RR 2.44, 95% CI 1.13 to 5.28; GRADE = low). Forty-one patients were enrolled in the study assessing mesalazine (2.4 g/day) versus mesalazine plus cholestyramine (4 g/day). Clinical response was noted in 85% of patients in the mesalazine group compared to 86% of patients in the mesalazine plus cholestyramine group (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.28; GRADE = low). Five patients were enrolled in the trial studying bismuth subsalicylate (nine 262 mg tablets daily for 8 weeks versus placebo). There were no differences in clinical (P=0.10) or histological responses (P=0.71) in patients treated with bismuth subsalicylate compared with placebo (GRADE = very low). Forty-six patients were enrolled in the trial studying beclometasone dipropionate (5 mg/day or 10 mg/day) versus mesalazine (2.4 g/day). There were no differences in clinical remission at 8 weeks (RR 0.97; 95% CI 0.75 to 1.24; GRADE = low) and 12 months of treatment (RR 1.29; 95% CI 0.40 to 4.18; GRADE = very low). Although patients receiving beclometasone dipropionate (84%) and mesalazine (86%) achieved clinical remission at 8 weeks, it was not maintained at 12 months (26% and 20%, respectively). Adverse events reported in the budesonide studies include nausea, vomiting, neck pain, abdominal pain, hyperhidrosis and headache. Nausea and skin rash were reported as adverse events in the mesalazine study. Adverse events in the beclometasone dipropionate trial include nausea, sleepiness and change of mood. No adverse events were reported in the bismuth subsalicylate study. Authors' conclusions: Low quality evidence suggests that budesonide may be effective for the treatment of active lymphocytic colitis. This benefit needs to be confirmed by a large placebo -controlled trial. Low quality evidence also suggests that mesalazine with or without cholestyramine and beclometasone dipropionate may be effective for the treatment of lymphocytic colitis, however this needs to be confirmed by large placebo-controlled studies. No conclusions can be made regarding bismuth subsalicylate due to the very small number of patients in the study, Further trials studying interventions for lymphocytic colitis are warranted.




Chande, N., Al Yatama, N., Bhanji, T., Nguyen, T. M., Mcdonald, J. W. D., & Macdonald, J. K. (2017, July 13). Interventions for treating lymphocytic colitis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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