Background : 5-Aminosalicylates remain important in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, but it is uncertain if the various preparations currently available are equivalent given the different delivery systems that exist. Generic prescription of mesalazine (mesalamine) is therefore inappropriate. Ipocol has recently become available as an alternative to Asacol-MR.
Aim : To compare the two agents in a controlled trial using a non-inferiority design.
Methods : Eighty-eight ulcerative colitis patients with a mild to moderate clinical relapse were randomized to one of the two drugs at a daily dose of 2.4 g for 8 weeks. Safety was the key concern; the primary measured end-point was efficacy as judged from a colitis activity index.
Results : There were no unexpected adverse events of clinical consequence. The colitis score improved similarly in both patient groups (by 2.3 with Ipocol and by 1.5 with Asacol: not significant), and a similar proportion was in clinical remission at the end of the study (26.1% for Ipocol and 28.6% for Asacol: not significant). Systemic steroids were needed in 11.9% of the Asacol-treated patients compared with 6.5% with Ipocol (not significant).
Conclusion : It appears appropriate to conclude that, while not identical to Asacol-MR, Ipocol offers a safe and similarly effective alternative.