P452 Oral ciclosporin is a convenient, effective and safe rescue therapy in steroid refractory Acute Severe Ulcerative Colitis: A single tertiary centre experience

Jiang, C.D.(1);Thalagala, T.(1);Rosembert, D.(2);Parkes, M.(1);Lee, J.(1);Raine, T.(1);

(1)Addenbrooke’s Hospital- Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Gastroenterology, Cambridge, United Kingdom;(2)Addenbrooke’s Hospital- Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Clinical Pharmacy, Cambridge, United Kingdom


Parenteral ciclosporin (CsA) is an effective rescue therapy for acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC) and has similar efficacy to infliximab (IFX). Although CsA is cheaper and can facilitate bridging to any IBD therapy, including newer biologics, its use is limited by variable pharmacokinetics and possibility of significant systemic toxicity particularly associated with the intravenous preparation. Despite favourable pharmacokinetics and bioavailability, the use of lipid-emulsified oral CsA in steroid-refractory ASUC is undefined.


All patients who received oral CsA (Neoral®) rescue therapy for ASUC at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK from Nov 2014 to May 2020 were identified from electronic healthcare records. Baseline data and outcomes were extracted and compared to patients who received IFX rescue therapy. Statistical significance was assessed using non-parametric tests. Survival estimates were computed using the Kaplan-Meier method.


A total of 37 patients received oral CsA for refractory ASUC. Median time from admission to CsA initiation was 5 days (IQR 4-6 d) and median initial dose was 8 mg/kg/d (IQR 7-8 mg/kg/d). At admission, the median CRP was 26 (IQR 14-95) and Truelove and Witt’s severity criteria met in 21/37 (57%). 70% of patients (26/37) avoided colectomy during the index admission. No parameters were demonstrated to predict need for acute colectomy. 

Median follow-up after hospital discharge was 3 years (IQR 2-5years). For those who avoided acute colectomy, median duration of therapy was 4 months (IQR 2.5-5months) with bridging to azathioprine (24/26, 92%), vedolizumab (1/26, 4%), or 5-ASA (1/26, 4%).  Estimated colectomy-free survival in responders were 84%, 84% and 78% at 12, 24, and 60 months. No parameters were shown to predict colectomy-free survival. Comparable colectomy-free outcomes were obtained for contemporaneous IFX-treated ASUC patients in our hospital. 

9 of 26 patients remained biologic-naïve and colectomy-free after a median of 3 years. Estimated colectomy and biologic-free survival were 51%, 47% and 18% at 12, 24, and 60 months. 

15 patients experienced adverse events, which were all mild and self-limiting. There were 3 infective complications. No patients required drug cessation and no serious adverse events associated with parenteral CsA occurred.


In this cohort, oral CsA was a safe, well tolerated and effective rescue therapy for steroid-refractory ASUC. A proportion of patients remain biologic and colectomy-free for up to 5 years.  Given the feasibility to bridge to effective maintenance therapies, including newer biologics, oral CsA should be considered as a rescue therapy in ASUC and avoids many of the side effects associated with intravenous CsA.