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Colitis Treatments and Drugs

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The main aim of ulcerative colitis treatment is to normalize the function of the patient’s immune system. In spite not having a real cure for ulcerative colitis and its corresponding flare ups, treatments abound that can control this condition including its symptoms to enable you to lead a relatively normal and much happier life.

IBD diseases like ulcerative colitis have treatments that entail the use of medicines, surgical procedures and alternative treatments use. Surgical procedures are usually done to repair or take out the diseased parts of the patient’s GI tract.


Drugs to treat ulcerative colitis can contain the inflammation of the colon which then enables the affected parts to heal. Abdominal pain, bleeding and diarrhea symptoms can be lessened and regulated with potent medicines. Besides suppressing and controlling symptoms (inducing remission), medicines are also useful to mitigate the number of colitis flare ups (maintaining remission). Extending these treatments over a certain time period can lead to the substantial reduction of symptom flare ups.

There are around five types of medications utilized for the treatment of ulcerative colitis: these include

Aminosalicylates (5-ASA) – Examples of these drugs include balsalazide, olsalazine, mesalamine and sulfasalazine. They are not particularly sanctioned by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of ulcerative colitis. These drugs, however, can effectively lessen inflammation by protecting the lining of the GI tract. They are effective in resolving mild-to-moderate bouts of colitis as well as become maintenance therapies to block relapses of this condition. Aminosalicylates (5-ASA) are most potent in the colon but may be less effective when treating ulcerative colitis in the small intestine.

Corticosteroids – Methylprednisolone and prednisone are administered rectallly or orally. These medicines inhibit the immune system to aid in the resolution of moderate to severe types of ulcerative colitis. Corticosteroids are notorious for short-term and long-term side effects and are not recommended for maintenance therapy.  A patient who cannot stop taking steroids without suffering symptoms relapse should be prescribed replacement medicines by his doctor for better management of his condition.

Immunomodulators – Immunomodulators lessen the body’s immune system response thus preventing inflammation. They are typically used for patients who were unsuccessfully treated with corticosteroids and aminosalicylates. Immunomodulators can be effective in lessening or removing the patient’s need for corticosteroids. They can also be used as maintenance drugs for patients who are not responsive to other medicines that are allegedly designed for this purpose. The beneficial results of Immunomodulators can take a while (several months) to be seen.

Antibiotics – These drugs are especially helpful in treating infections like abscesses when they occur. Antibiotics can help treat fistulas that may develop around the vagina and the anal canal. Some antibiotic drugs taken for the treatment of GI tract bacterial infection can include ciprofloxacin, ampicillin, metronidazole and others.

Biologic Therapies – Biologic therapies are new techniques that are designed to treat moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis. These treatments target TNF or tumor necrosis factor which is a chemical in the body that causes inflammation. Biologic therapies help the body produce antibodies that stick to TNFs and then causes the destruction of these chemicals that in the process lessens the inflammation.

Surgery – Sadly, about a third of patients given the above aforementioned treatments does not respond satisfactorily to them or have had complications due to these treatments. Surgery may then be their next option under these circumstances. Colitis surgery entails the excision of the colon called a colectomy. Colectomy guarantees that colitis can never occur again in the patient not like Crohn’s disease which after surgery in all likelihood can come back. A certain type of surgery for the patient may depend on factors like his overall health, age and the severity and scope of his disease. One type of surgery entails the extraction of the rectum and the entire colon and at the same the creation of an external stoma (a hole in the stomach where body wastes go to and are emptied into a pouch attached adhesively to the skin) or of an ileostomy.

The development of newer surgical procedures can provide patients with surgical options that are much more convenient and effective.  A new procedure also entails the extraction of the colon, but now without the need for an ileostomy. The surgeon instead creates an internal pouch from the small bowel that is attached to the muscles of the anal sphincter. This helps eliminate the need of wearing an outside ostomy pouch and also helps in bowel integrity.

Alternative Treatments

Curcumin, Tumeric – This is a spicy herb that time and time again has been used with mainstream ulcerative colitis treatments like sulfasalazine or corticosteroids to help better symptoms. It also renders unnecessary the need for using larger doses of mainstream medications thus preventing serious side effects. This statement is true as evidenced from a couple of clinical studies. Additional research may be required before this therapy can be recommended into mainstream medicine.

Acupuncture – This treatment addresses colitis by treating the spleen and liver meridians with acupuncture needles to prevent stress, anxiety and anger from becoming too excessive causing in the process imbalances in the spleen and liver organs that can lead to ulcerative colitis.

The 2006 edition Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterolgy revealed that moxibustion and acupuncture treatment for ulcerative colitis provided positive effects in the health and quality of life of patients.

Aloe vera – The juice of this plant has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory attributes beneficial for individuals suffering from ulcerative colitis. When taken orally, aloe vera can also become a laxative which is good for those with ulcerative colitis.

Fish oil – This ingredient also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful for patients with ulcerative colitis.

Probiotics – Adding more beneficial bacteria (probiotics) into the GI system of an individual suffering from ulcerative colits can help neutralize the disease.

Emily Farish Acupuncture
400 S. Jefferson, Suite 203
Spokane, WA 99204
Phone: 509-217-9262

Written by Valerie

January 5th, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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