Ulcerative Colitis Medication

Treatment for ulcerative colitis often begins with medication. According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, your doctor may prescribe one or more medications to treat your condition, but this will depend on your symptoms' severity, current health status, and other variables. Medication therapy will first focus on lessening the intensity and frequency of your symptoms.

In order to do this as soon as possible, it may be necessary to use medication. Nonetheless, your gastroenterologist will be administering or preparing to provide future drugs to maintain you in remission safely throughout this period.


The only method to confirm a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is via endoscopic procedures, including tissue biopsy. More testing may be necessary to rule out complications or other kinds of inflammatory bowel illnesses like Crohn's. The following tests and procedures may be performed to assist in confirming a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis −

Exams in the Laboratory

Diagnostics involving the blood

If your doctor suspects you have an infection or inflammation, they may recommend blood testing to rule out the possibility of anemia. Anemia occurs when the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen to the body's tissues.

The study of feces

Ulcerative colitis may be indicated by white blood cells or certain proteins in the stool. It is possible to rule out various diseases with the use of a stool sample, including bacterial, viral, and parasitic illnesses.

Methods Using an Endoscope


In this procedure, your doctor will use a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a camera at its end to examine your whole colon. Tissue samples are obtained at several points during the operation for further examination. A tissue biopsy is what you need. In order to make a diagnosis, a tissue sample is required.


The bottom end of your colon (the rectum and sigmoid) is examined by your doctor using a thin, flexible, lighted tube. This evaluation might replace a thorough colonoscopy in cases with severe colon inflammation.

Imaginative Methods


If you're experiencing severe symptoms, your doctor may order an abdominal X-ray to rule out more dangerous conditions, such as a megacolon or a perforated colon.

CAT scan

If your doctor suspects an ulcerative colitis complication, he or she may order a CT scan of your lower body. A CT scan may also show the degree of inflammation in the colon.

CT and MR enterography, or computerized tomography and magnetic resonance, respectively. Non-invasive diagnostic procedures like these may be suggested to rule out small-intestinal inflammation. Compared to more traditional imaging methods, these tests are more sensitive in detecting intestinal inflammation. Instead, MR enterography does not use radiation.

Ulcerative colitis treatment options

Aminosalicylates (5-ASA)

5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) is the active ingredient in the class of drugs known as aminosalicylates, which reduce inflammation in the digestive system lining. Whether used orally in the form of delayed-release tablets or rectally in the form of enemas or suppositories, aminosalicylates are most effective when used in the colon.

The use of aminosalicylates has shown promise as a maintenance medication for avoiding relapses of ulcerative colitis in patients with mild to severe illness.


While treating active ulcerative colitis, doctors often use corticosteroids to dampen the immune system's response. Instead of targeting individual components of the immune system that contribute to inflammation, these medications attempt to dampen the immunological response as a whole. These drugs may be taken orally or rectally.

There are serious risks associated with using corticosteroids over the long term. Thus they shouldn't be used regularly. These drugs cannot be discontinued suddenly since they reduce or prevent the adrenal glands from making natural cortisol.

It may be necessary for your doctor to switch you to a different prescription for disease management if you are unable to safely wean yourself off steroids without experiencing a flare-up of your symptoms.


This category of drugs regulates or dampens the body's immunological response, preventing it from perpetuating inflammation. Immunomodulators are often utilized after aminosalicylates and corticosteroids have failed to alleviate symptoms or have only been moderately successful.

Patients who haven't responded to previous drugs provided for this reason may help lower or eliminate the requirement for corticosteroids and sustaining remission. Certain immunomodulators are used to improve the efficacy of other drugs, particularly biologics.

Concentrated Man-Made Micromolecules

Inflammation may be reduced with drugs known as targeted synthetic small molecules. The drugs' intended targets may contribute to intestinal inflammation. These drugs are for adults with moderate to severely active ulcerative colitis and are given orally.

Biosimilar and Biological Medicines

Those with severe ulcerative colitis are treated with biologics. In contrast to conventional pharmaceuticals, biologics are protein-based medicines developed from organic compounds in living organisms. Antibodies, the active ingredients in these drugs, block inflammatory proteins in the body.

Variant pharmaceuticals

Depending on the severity of your ulcerative colitis symptoms, your doctor may prescribe additional drugs. Never use an OTC drug without first seeing your doctor. One or more of the following may be suggested by your doctor.

Medication to stop diarrhea

Loperamide (Imodium A-D) has shown promise as a treatment for severe diarrhea. Do not use anti-diarrheal drugs unless your doctor tells you to if you have ulcerative colitis—there is a possible link between these drugs and colon enlargement (toxic megacolon).

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may be used for minor pain, but ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and diclofenac sodium should be avoided since they might exacerbate symptoms and hasten the progression of the illness.


Doctors sometimes prescribe antispasmodic treatments for cramp relief—vitamins with iron. You may need iron supplements if you have continuous intestinal bleeding and end up with iron deficiency anemia.


Medicine, dietary adjustments, and surgery are all viable options for treating ulcerative colitis. The only curative therapy for ulcerative colitis is the surgical removal of the colon and rectum, which is not an option for most patients.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis should begin as soon as symptoms are noticed. Dehydration, symptom relief, and enough nourishment may all be ensured or prevented by seeking medical attention in the case of severe diarrhea and bleeding.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


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