The use of heparin for the treatment of ulcerative colitis has been evaluated in several open and controlled trials, with varying outcomes.
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of heparin as supplemental therapy compared with conventional therapy in patients with ulcerative colitis.
All randomized trials comparing heparin supplementation to conventional therapy were included from electronic databases. Statistical analysis was performed with review manager 4.2.8 (The Cochrane Collaboration, Oxford, UK). Sub-analysis and sensitivity analysis were also performed.
Eight randomized-controlled trials, investigating a total of 454 participants, met the inclusion criteria. The odds ratio (OR) for the efficacy of heparin supplementation vs. conventional therapy was 0.78 (95% CI = 0.50–1.21). Few serious adverse events were observed. The OR for the efficacy of unfractionated heparin and low-molecular-weight heparin vs. conventional therapy was 0.26 (95% CI = 0.07–0.93) and 0.92 (95% CI = 0.57–1.47), respectively. The OR for the efficacy of heparin vs. conventional therapy with placebo was 0.87 (95% CI = 0.53–1.44).
Our meta-analysis suggests that administration of heparin in patients with ulcerative colitis is safe, but no additive benefit over conventional therapy is indicated.