Treatment of Diverticular Disease With Aminosalicylates: The Evidence

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Abstract

Colonic diverticulosis is an increasingly common condition in Western industrialized countries. About 20% of patients develop symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, changes in bowel habits, and, eventually, diverticulitis or other complications. The management of symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD) and the prevention of acute diverticulitis remains a challenge for the clinician. The rationale for the use of aminosalicylates, such as mesalazine, is based on the assumption of low-grade inflammation in SUDD and symptoms generation, whereas an overt inflammation may induce diverticulitis in patients with diverticular disease. Clinical scenarios in which the efficacy and safety of mesalazine have been studied include SUDD, prevention of diverticulitis, and of recurrent diverticulitis. Data from uncontrolled studies suggest a benefit of mesalazine on patients with SUDD, whereas data from randomized controlled trials showed some evidence of improvement of symptoms, although contrasting results are reported. The largest study so far published on the efficacy of mesalamine in the prevention of recurrence of diverticulitis showed that mesalamine was not superior to placebo. At this time, the role of mesalazine in the prevention of acute diverticulitis remains to be defined with many issues open and unresolved.

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