Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes severe inflammation and ulcers within the digestive tract. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and sometimes severely impact quality of life. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, urgency to defecate and more.
A new study at Stanford University offers a glimmer of hope.
In this study, researchers examined three existing medications and their impact on ulcerative colitis. Two of the drugs were chemotherapy medications, which would not be broadly recommended due to side effects. The other was a statin, widely prescribed to reduce cholesterol.
One long-term effect of ulcerative colitis for some is the possibility of a colectomy, a surgery that removes part of the colon. “About 30 percent of ulcerative colitis patients eventually have to undergo a colectomy as a last resort. It’s a drastic measure. You’re removing part of your body,” Purvesh Khatri, PhD, lead author of the study says.
The new study showed a 50% reduction in colectomies for those patients taking a statin. They also found a reduction in hospitalization rates among ulcerative colitis patients taking statins. These are promising results for those who have been suffering with debilitating side effects.
While the new study is promising, there is much more research to be done before this will be recommended for mainstream practice.