The efficacy of tobramycin in the treatment of ulcerative colitis


Dr A. T. R. Axon, Gastroenterology Unit, The General Infirmary, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK.

Dr D. A. Burke is now Senior Registrar at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle NE1 4LP, UK.


This paper reports a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of oral tobramycin in acute ulcerative colitis. Eighty-four patients with an acute relapse of ulcerative colitis were randomized to receive oral tobramycin or placebo for 1 week as an adjunct to steroid therapy. At endpoint, 31 of 42 (74%) in the tobramycin group achieved complete symptomatic remission compared with 18 of 42 (43%) in the placebo group (P= 0.008). The tobramycin group achieved better histological scores (P < 0.05) at endpoint. These findings show that treatment with oral tobramycin improves the short-term outcome of patients with ulcerative colitis in relapse.