Occasional diarrhea from bad food, a medication side effect or illness is one thing, but to battle it on a chronic basis, along with other sometimes painful symptoms, is quite another. If you or a loved one has ulcerative colitis, you know how debilitating this type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be. In addition to more frequent stools, people with ulcerative colitis can experience diarrhea with bloody stool and abdominal pain.

Ulcerative colitis affects both men and women equally and usually presents in the teen years or young adulthood, but the disease can occur at any age. If you have a relative with the condition, you are at higher risk for this disease. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis are very similar to Crohn’s disease. However, ulcerative colitis affects only the colon whereas Crohn’s can affect the small intestine and other parts of the digestive system.

As an intermittent disease, the main goals for treating ulcerative colitis are to achieve remission to control symptoms and maintain remission to prevent flare-ups. Two main classes of drugs are used to accomplish those goals: 5-aminosalicyclates (5-ASA) and corticosteroids such as prednisone. If patients have an intolerance to these medications or they do not provide enough relief, the next step is to consider a colectomy surgery in which the colon is removed. However, surgery is always a last resort and only recommended when other first-line treatments have been tried and failed. About 20 percent of people with ulcerative colitis will require surgery.

Another type of drug that has been used in treating ulcerative colitis is cyclosporine. It has been used in patients with severe, rapid-onset ulcerative colitis and has helped these patients due to its anti-inflammatory response. An immune-suppressing drug, cyclosporine was developed for organ transplant patients to help the body more readily accept the transplanted organ.

Palmtree Clinical Research in Palm Springs is a national site for a clinical trial for cyclosporine to study its use in people with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis. This study will help determine FDA approval for this indication of cyclosporine.

Coachella Valley residents with severe-to-moderate ulcerative colitis may apply for this study. The study criteria include people age 18-75 with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis who have had an inadequate response to their current medication or a loss of response or intolerance to at least one conventional therapy for ulcerative colitis. Qualified study participants receive either a placebo or the investigational medication to see if clinical remission for ulcerative colitis can be achieved. Participants receive study-related care at no cost and compensation per visit, and may help advance medicine for others suffering from ulcerative colitis.

For patients who have tried several options and have become discouraged with results, cyclosporine may offer a ray of hope and the option to avoid colon surgery if the patient responds favorably.

For more information, please call (760) 778.7799 or visit www.palmtreeclincial.com.

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