ANTICOLITIS AGENTS are used to treat inflammation of the colon. This inflammation can be due to many things, and is usually characterized by pain in the lower bowel, diarrhoea, sometimes with mucus and blood in the faeces. The treatment depends on diagnosis and severity.

Aminosalicylates contain a 5-aminosalicylic acid component and these drugs are used primarily to treat active Crohn’s disease, and to induce and maintain remission of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Drugs in this group include mesalazine (which is 5-aminosalicylicacid itself), olsalazine sodium (which links two molecules of 5-aminosalicylic acid), balsalazide (a prodrug of mesalazine) and sulfasalazine (which chemically combines 5-aminosalicylic acid with the antibacterial sulphonamide sulfapyridine). Antiinflammatory CORTICOSTEROIDS, especially prednisolone, are also effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, rectal or anal inflammation and haemorrhoids. Azathioprine is a powerful cytotoxic agent, an IMMUNO-SUPPRESSANT used to treat ulcerative colitis and other autoimmune diseases. Administration is oral or by injection.

Colitis may result from various gut infections, especially amoebic colitis. Clindamycin. vancomycin or metronidazole may be used in treatment. The diarrhoea of colitis states may be treated with normal ANTIDIARRHOEALS, e.g. the opioids codeine, morphine, diphenoxylate and loperamide. The colic may respond to ANTISPASMODICS, e.g. the anticholinergics atropine, hyoscine, dicyclomine, propantheline. Mebeverine is a direct-acting antispasmodic effective in some types of gut colic.