Mesalazine for the Treatment of Symptomatic Uncomplicated Diverticular Disease of the Colon and for Primary Prevention of Diverticulitis: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials

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Symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD) is a common gastrointestinal disease, because it affects about one fourth of the patient harboring colonic diverticula.


To assess the effectiveness of mesalazine in improving symptoms (namely abdominal pain) and in preventing diverticulitis occurrence in patients with SUDD.


Only randomized clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or publication status) that compared mesalazine with placebo or any other therapy in SUDD were evaluated. The selected endpoints were symptom relief and diverticulitis occurrence at maximal follow-up. Absolute risk reduction (ARR, with 95% confidence interval) and the number needed to treat were used as measures of the therapeutic effect.


Six randomized clinical trials enrolled 1021 patients: 526 patients were treated with mesalazine and 495 with placebo or other therapies. Symptom relief with mesalazine was always larger than that with placebo and other therapies. However, absolute risk reduction was significant only when mesalazine was compared with placebo, a high-fiber diet, and low-dose rifaximin. The incidence of diverticulitis with mesalazine was lower than that observed with placebo and other treatments, being significant only when compared with placebo.


Mesalazine is effective in achieving symptom relief and primary prevention of diverticulitis in patients with SUDD.

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