• Clinical trial;
  • Patient compliance;
  • Drug therapy;
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases;
  • Mesalazine;
  • Ulcerative colitis



High doses of mesalazine usually result in an inconvenient dosage schedule and reduced compliance. The goal of this trial was to compare the effects of mesalazine 4 g daily given as prolonged-release granules in packets of 1 g with that of prolonged-release tablets of 0.5 g.


Two hundred twenty-seven patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis were randomized to treatment with two packets twice daily (Gr-b.i.d.), 1 packet four times daily (Gr-q.i.d.) or 2 tablets four times daily (Ta-q.i.d.) for 8 weeks. A disease activity index (ulcerative colitis disease activity index; UC-DAI) was calculated, and the granules were defined as noninferior to the tablets if the lower limit of the 95% CI for the differences was more than −1 UC-DAI score unit.


Noninferiority of the granules compared with the tablets was demonstrated. The mean improvement in the UC-DAI in the treatment groups Gr-b.i.d., Gr-q.i.d., and Ta-q.i.d. were 3.2, 2.9, and 2.4, respectively; the proportion of complete responders in the three groups 39%, 37%, and 31%, respectively. There were no differences in side effects.


Mesalazine 4 g daily given as prolonged-release granules twice and four times daily is at least as effective as prolonged-release tablets four times daily in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. The patients preferred the twice daily dosing.