Marno C. M. Rijk, MD; Ruud A. van Hogezand, MD, PhD; Henk J. J. van Lier, MSc; Jan H. M. van Tongeren, MD, PhD
Objective: To determine whether sulphasalazine plus prednisone is more effective than sulphasalazine alone in treating active Crohn disease.
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Setting: Multicenter trial in one university hospital and nine general hospitals.
Patients: Patients with active Crohn disease and a Van Hees Activity Index of 140 or more. Of 71 patients who were randomly assigned, 60 completed treatment and were analyzed.
Interventions: For 16 weeks, 30 patients received sulphasalazine, 6 g/d (or 4 g/d if adverse effects occurred) and prednisone, 30 mg/d initially. Prednisone therapy was tapered in increments of 5 mg/2 wk to 10 mg/d after 8 weeks. Thirty other patients received sulphasalazine and a placebo.
Measurements and Main Results: In the first 6 weeks of treatment, the Van Hees Activity Index decreased to a median of 70% (interquartile range, 57% to 81%) of the initial value in patients treated with sulphasalazine and prednisone and to a median of 87% (interquartile range, 70% to 94%) in patients treated with sulphasalazine alone (P = 0.001). In the last 4 weeks of treatment, the corresponding figures were 63% (interquartile range, 40% to 75%) and 70% (interquartile range, 54% to 90%) (P = 0.10). The Crohn's Disease Activity Index decreased in the first 6 weeks to a median of 65% (interquartile range, 57% to 86%) in patients receiving sulphasalazine and prednisone and to a median of 75% (interquartile range, 58% to 101%) in patients receiving sulphasalazine alone (P = 0.13). In the last 4 weeks of treatment, the corresponding figures were 65% (interquartile range, 42% to 90%) and 76% (interquartile range, 49% to 110%) (P = 0.19).
Conclusions: The use of prednisone in addition to sulphasalazine in patients with active Crohn disease results in a significantly faster initial improvement, but not in a significantly better result after 16 weeks of treatment, when disease activity is measured by the Van Hees Activity Index.
Rijk MCM, van Hogezand RA, van Lier HJJ, van Tongeren JHM. Sulphasalazine and Prednisone Compared with Sulphasalazine for Treating Active Crohn Disease: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Multicenter Trial. Ann Intern Med. ;114:445–450. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-6-445
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(6):445-450.
Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
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