Published online Sep 21, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.4353
Revised: July 27, 2009
Accepted: August 3, 2009
Published online: September 21, 2009
5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) compounds are a highly effective treatment for ulcerative colitis (UC). While UC patient compliance in clinical studies is over 90%, only 40% of patients in every day life take their prescribed therapy. Adherence to medication has been emphasized recently by a Cochrane meta-analysis that has suggested that future trials of 5-ASA in UC should look at patient compliance rather than drug efficacy. Better compliance can be obtained by reducing the number of tablets and times of administration. Given that the 5-ASA formulations have different delivery systems that split the active moiety in various regions of the intestine, it is particularly important that an adequate dose of the drug arrives at the inflamed part of the colon. 5-ASA Multi matrix (MMx) is a novel, high strength (1.2 g), oral formulation designed for once-daily dosing. It releases the active moiety throughout the colon. Different studies with this compound have shown that it is as effective as 5-ASA enema in the treatment of mild-to-moderate, left-sided UC, and is comparable to a pH-dependent, delayed release 5-ASA (Asacol®), even if given once daily. Recently, the effectiveness in the acute phase of UC has been confirmed also in maintenance. In conclusion, at present, 5-ASA MMx seems theoretically the best agent for maintaining patient compliance, and consequently, treatment effectiveness.