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Background:

Mesalazine suppositories at 500 mg b.d. are a safe and effective treatment for patients with ulcerative proctitis or distal proctosigmoiditis. Recently a mesalazine 1 g suppository (Pentasa) has been developed.

Methods:

Fifty patients with active ulcerative colitis extending not beyond 20 cm from the anus on sigmoidoscopy, participated in a randomized single-blind study comparing the efficacy, tolerance and acceptance of the new Pentasa mesalazine 1 g suppository, given once daily versus Claversal mesalazine 500 mg suppository b.d.

Results:

After 2 weeks, clinical remission was observed in 16 of 25 (64%) in the Pentasa group and in 7 of 25 (28%) in the Claversal 500 mg b.d. treated group; sigmoidoscopic remission occurred in 13 of 25 (52%) in the Pentasa group and in six of 25 (24%) in the Claversal group (< 0.01). After 4 weeks, clinical and sigmoidoscopic remission were observed, respectively, in 84 and 76% of patients treated with Pentasa suppositories, and in 80 and 72% of patients treated with Claversal suppositories 500 mg b.d. (P= N.S.). The patients' evaluation for tolerability and practicality showed that the Pentasa suppository was significantly superior to the Claversal suppository.

Conclusions:

Pentasa 1 g suppository once daily induces a quicker clinical and sigmoidoscopic remission, and was better tolerated, than the Claversal 500 mg suppository b.d., and it may represent an advance for the topical treatment of distal proctosigmoiditis.