Ulcerative colitis medications do not actually cure ulcerative colitis. They can, however, give the ulcerative colitis sufferer some relief from symptoms brought on by this condition which causes inflammation in the colon. One of the other things ulcerative colitis medications can do for you is help you attain remission - and hold it. The following medications are used most frequently by medical professionals for ulcerative colitis treatment. Sulfasalazine - This is a medication that treats ulcerative colitis by combining sulfapyridine and 5-aminosalicyclic acid, or 5-ASA The role of sulfapyridine is to transport 5-aminosalicyclic acid to the intestines. Sulfapyridine, however, causes side effects is some patients, including heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. Aminosalicylates - These also contain a 5-ASA as a component. But since there's no sulfapyridine, it is free of side effects, and therefore it's often the choice of people who can't take sulfapyridine. . It's a derivative of salicylic acid, and therefore may possibly be an antioxidant. They can be administered through several forms, depending on the location of the inflammation: orally, by suppository or by enema. This is often the first choice of healthcare providers when treating for ulcerative colitis. They can also be useful for treatment when relpases happen. Corticosteroids - Several drugs are combined to make up this ulcerative colitis treatment. They include hydrocortisone prednisone and methylprednisone. Their primary benefit is that they reduce inflammation. Patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, or those who do not respond to 5-ASA's are more likely to use this group. They can be taken orally, intravenously, by enema or suppository.. Your doctor will recommend a delivery method based on where the inflammation is located in your colon. Corticosteroids are often extremely effective when used in the short term. Side effects tend to crop up when they are used for extended periods. These side effects include acne, bone mass loss, diabetes, facial hair, hypertension, moodiness, increased risk of infection. and weight gain. Immunomodulators - Immunomodulators have an effect on the human immune system that results in reduced inflammation and swelling. If a patient has had no success with 5-ASA's and corticosteroids, or has become dependent on corticosteroids, then immunomodulators would probably be prescribed. They're the most favored choice of many patients because they can be taken by mouth. There are two primary drawbacks to immunomodulators. First, they can take a long time to work completely. It may be as long as six months. Second, they tend to produce complications, including a low white blood cell count, higher risk of getting an infection, hepatitis and pancreatitis. Cyclosporine A - Patients who are suffering from active, severe ulcerative colitis are often treated with this drug. It may also be administered to those who have not had success with intravenous methods. Cyclosporine is often combined with 6-MP or azathioprine. The patient may also be prescribed other medications to help hium or her relax and deal with pain, diarrhea, or infections. As was mentioned before, no permanent cure for ulcerative colitis has been found. However, medications for ulcerative colitis can help prevent flare ups and keep down inflammation. Plus, they can reduce or delay the need for surgery. Your doctor will evaluate a number of factors in deciding on the appropriate ulcerative colitis medication for you. Among these factors are * symptom severity * the likelihood of complications * probable side effects, if any * other treatments or medications you have tried in the past Every patient responds to ulcerative colitis in their own way. It's not the same for everyone.. So it's possible your physician may have to try a number of therapies before finding one that will be best for you. Click on ulcerative colitis treatments and causes of ulcerative colitis to learn more about maintaining colon health. Neal Kennedy is a retired radio and television journalist with a special interest in medical issues.
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