Many Young People With Ulcerative Colitis Unlikely to Take Meds as Prescribed


For children and adults with ulcerative colitis (UC), a type of inflammatory bowel disease, mesalamine is a commonly prescribed medication that may not only ease symptoms like pain and inflammation, but also prevent flare-ups once symptoms are under control.

Despite its effectiveness, nearly 70 percent of teens and young adults who have UC and start the treatment quit taking the medication within a year, according to research published in the British Journal of General Practice.

The study, which involved more than 600 people with ulcerative colitis between ages 10 and 24, also found that a quarter discontinued their treatment after just one month.

“Young people with ulcerative colitis are not very adherent to the medicine, and that may lead to worse outcomes,” says Richard Pollok, PhD, an author of the study and a professor of gastroenterology and gastrointestinal infection with St. George’s University Hospitals in London. “Young patients may get better and think they don’t need to continue, or they may be unaware of the need to continue if [the consequences are] not explained carefully at diagnosis.”


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