Background: The optimal modalities of treatment with oral microemulsion ciclosporin in patients with severe, steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis are uncertain.
Aim: To assess the applicability, in terms of efficacy and tolerability, of a standard oral microemulsion ciclosporin treatment protocol targeting relatively low blood ciclosporin concentrations, in patients with severe, steroid-resistant ulcerative colitis.
Patients and methods: Patients with a severe attack of ulcerative colitis and no satisfactory response to intravenous corticosteroids were started on oral microemulsion ciclosporin. Dosages were adapted according to a standard protocol, targeting a blood predose ciclosporin concentration (C0) of 100–200 ng/mL. Patients without a clinical response on day 8 were scheduled for colectomy.
Results: Sixteen patients were enrolled. A clinical response was observed in 14/16 (88%). The mean clinical activity index scores and concentrations of C-reactive protein on days 0, 4 and 8 were 11.8, 6.7 and 4.1, and 50.3, 19.3 and 9.7 mg/L respectively. The mean C0 (days 0–8) was 149 pg/mL. The mean creatinine clearance rates on days 0 and 8 were 88 and 96 mL/min. One patient had an acute elevation of transaminases that resulted in discontinuing ciclosporin.
Conclusions: Even when dosed for a target C0 of 100–200 ng/mL, oral microemulsion ciclosporin for severe, steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis achieves an efficacy similar to that attained with higher, potentially more toxic levels. The oral route should replace intravenous treatment in this clinical setting.