Purpose: 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) is the recommended first-line treatment for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). These patients frequently fail to receive the full benefit from this treatment, often as a result of nonadherence to complex dosing regimens. The purpose of this review is to update nurse practitioners (NPs) on the available 5-ASA formulations for patients with UC and to explore the role of NPs in the effective use of these drugs in disease management.
Data sources: Pubmed and recent conference abstracts were searched for studies that examined either 5-ASA therapy in UC or the role of NPs in their treatment.
Conclusions: Patients frequently fail to adhere to their 5-ASA treatment regimens, perhaps owing to a lack of understanding about their disease, or a lack of awareness of their medical management options. The unique relationship between patients and NPs allow barriers to treatment success to be identified and overcome.
Implications for practice: For patients with UC, NPs are often a primary point of contact, and are therefore ideally placed to take steps to positively influence and change patient behavior.