Treating Ulcerative Colitis patientsUlcerative colitis patients are primarily treated with salazosulfapyridine or mesalazine treatment. Steroids act as a second line therapy for the induction until remission in ulcerative colitis if the first line of treatment fails. However, steroids use can have its side effects.

A research was conducted in Japan by Dr. Masatoshi Kudo from Kinki University School of Medicine. They investigated an alternative treatment for steroid-naive patients with ulcerative colitis. LCAP or leukocytapharesis is a method where the blood is passed through a filter to remove leukocytes before finally returning it inside the body. LCAP was introduced to patients in 1995. Furthermore, they assessed whether the efficacy of LCAP can be predicted on the basis of endoscopic findings.

Results of the study showed that on average, 1.6 x 1010 leukocytes are removed during one session. It included granulocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes. Eleven out of eighteen patients with ulcerative colitis or approximately 61% had entered remission eight weeks after LCAP treatment. Steroids on the other hand can induce remission in 45% to 90% of patients who are non-responsive to salazosulfapyridine or mesalazine treatment. None of the patients treated with LCAP experienced any severe adverse effects from the treatment.

They concluded that LCAP is as efficacious as steroids as a second line of treatment. Patients with moderately active colitis should be treated with LCAP before steroids are considered due to its low incidence of adverse effects.