Effective Maintenance Leukocytapheresis for Patients with Steroid Dependent or Resistant Ulcerative Colitis


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Abstract

We prospectively examined the effect of leukocytapheresis (LA) on the maintenance of remission in 7 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) who were initially refractory to corticosteroid therapy (steroid resistant or steroid dependent). The patients with refractory UC had been in remission due to LA (induction LA) in combination with the steroid therapy. They were then treated with LA once or twice a month for the purpose of maintaining remission (maintenance LA). The maintenance LA was performed by either a centrifuge method in 5 patients or a polyester adsorbent column method in 2 patients. Steroid dosage was gradually tapered as little as possible without recurrence based on clinical and/or colonoscopical judgments. Four patients were maintained in remission without steroids over 12 months. Recurrence was observed in 3 patients at 3, 3, and 6 months after the beginning of the maintenance LA, respectively. Two of the 3 patients were again conducted to remission by the second induction LA and maintained in remission by the second maintenance LA. Two patients finally underwent total colectomy because of recurrence of UC in a severe form. It is concluded that the maintenance LA therapy might be effective in some patients with steroid dependent or resistant UC for the maintenance of remission without steroids.

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