Scientific corner

Leucocytapheresis for ulcerative colitis

P.M. Irving, D.S. Rampton

Digestive and Liver Disease 36 (2004) 799–802

we discuss the theory behind using leucocytapheresis to treat IBD, its different forms, the way in which these remove leucocytes, and the indications, efficacy, safety, and possible future role of leucocytapheresis.

if randomised controlled trials confirm its safety and efficacy in steroid-refractory colitis, it would be tempting to compare leucocytapheresis with cyclosporin rescue therapy in that it can be used on an out-patient basis and, unlike cyclosporin, is not yet reported to have serious side-effects. Furthermore, in patients refractory to aminosalicylates, leucocytapheresis could conceivably have a place as maintenance therapy. Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are not always effective and have rare
but serious side-effects; leucocytapheresis, at least in theory, might be an attractive alternative.

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