Open Access Research article

Efficacy, safety and cost analyses in ulcerative colitis patients undergoing granulocyte and monocyte adsorption or receiving prednisolone

Keiichi Tominaga*, Masakazu Nakano, Mina Hoshino, Kazunari Kanke and Hideyuki Hiraishi

Author Affiliations

Department of Gastroenterology, Dokkyo Medical University, 880, Kitakobayashi, Mibu, Shimotsuga, Tochigi, 321-0293, Japan

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BMC Gastroenterology 2013, 13:41  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-41

Published: 1 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) are treated with prednisolone (PSL), which causes adverse side effects. Extracorporeal granulocyte/monocyte adsorption (GMA) with an Adacolumn depletes elevated/activated myeloid lineage leucocytes as sources of inflammatory cytokines. We were interested to evaluate the efficacy, safety and the treatment cost for PSL and GMA.

Methods

Forty-one patients with active UC had achieved remission with GMA, at 1 or 2 sessions/week, up to 10 sessions (n=24) or with orally administered PSL (1mg/kg bodyweight, n=17). Clinical activity index (CAI) ≤4 was considered clinical remission. Following remission, patients received 5-aminosalicylic acid (2250-3000mg/day) or sulphasalazine (4000-6000mg/day) as maintenance therapy and were followed for 600 days. The total treatment cost was assessed based on 1€=150JPY.

Results

PSL was tapered after two weeks, and discontinued when a patient achieved remission. The average time to the disappearance of at least one major UC symptom (haematochezia, diarrhoea, or abdominal discomfort) was 15.3 days in the GMA group and 12.7 days in the PSL group, while time to remission was 27.9 days in the GMA group and 27.6 days in the PSL group, CAI 0.8 and 2.0, respectively. The Kaplan-Meier plots showed similar remission maintenance rates over the 600 days follow-up period. The average medical cost was 12739.4€/patient in the GMA group and 8751.3€ in the PSL group (P<0.05). In the GMA group, 5 transient adverse events were observed vs 10 steroid related adverse events in the PSL group (P<0.001).

Conclusions

In appropriately selected patients, GMA has significant efficacy with no safety concern. The higher cost of GMA vs PSL should be compromised by good safety profile of this non-pharmacological treatment intervention.

Keywords:
Ulcerative colitis; Adsorptive granulocyte and monocyte apheresis; Prednisolone; Medical cost; Treatment safety