BACKGROUND: Ulcerative proctitis (UP) is typically treated initially with oral 5-aminosalicylate (“5-ASA”), mesalamine suppository, or mesalamine enema (“UP Rx”). Little is known about their effectiveness in practice.
METHODS: Using a US health insurance database, we identified new-onset UP patients between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2007, based on the following: (1) initiation of UP Rx; (2) endoscopy in prior 30 days resulting in diagnosis of UP; and (3) no prior encounters for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. We examined the incidence of therapy escalation and total costs in relation to initial UP Rx.
RESULTS: We identified 548 patients: 327 received mesalamine suppository, 138 received oral 5-ASA, and 83 received mesalamine enema, as initial UP Rx. One-third receiving oral 5-ASA experienced therapy escalation over 12 months, 21% for both mesalamine suppository and enema. Mean cumulative total cost of UP Rx over 12 months was $1552, $996, and $986 for patients beginning therapy with oral 5-ASA, mesalamine enema, and mesalamine suppository, respectively. Contrary to expert recommendations the treatments were often not continued prophylactically.
CONCLUSIONS: Treatment escalation was common, and total costs of therapy were higher, in patients who initiated treatment with oral 5-ASA. Further study is necessary to assess the significance of these observations.