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Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune condition caused by the body’s immune system attacking itself. This causes continuous segments of inflammation in the gut wall, affecting the colon and rectum only.

2 in 1,000 adults in the UK are affected by ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

Treatment for ulcerative colitis is separated into two components. The first aim is to treat active symptoms (flare-up) and then once a flare-up is settled to maintain remission.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis is managed in specialist settings. Flare-ups are treated with a short course of immunosuppressant with an aminosalicylate (e.g. mesalazine, sulfasalazine) and/or corticosteroids.

Remission is maintained using a stepwise approach starting with an aminosalicylate and adding in second line therapies (e.g. azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine) as required. Some patients may require treatment with special medications made from antibodies or surgery.

Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first and second line therapies have not achieved adequate benefit in active ulcerative colitis or disease that is in remission.