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Phenotype of histologically suspected drug-induced colitis; results of a comparative, retrospective cohort study

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journal contribution
posted on 19.06.2019, 09:11 by Thorsten Brechmann, Katharina Günther, Matthias Neid, Andrea Tannapfel, Wolff Schmiegel

Background/aims: Drug-induced colitis (DiC) is a rarely reported form of colonopathy and data about the clinical and endoscopic characteristics are scarce. The aim was to investigate the phenotype of DiC.

Methods: Patients in a retrospective case control study were assigned to either DiC or one of two age- and gender-matched control groups (non-inflammatory controls and inflammatory colitis from other causes) based on histopathological findings. Patients’ basic characteristics, symptoms, biochemical results and endoscopic appearance were collected. Statistical analysis included ANOVA, the chi-squared test and two-tailed t-test.

Results: A total of 211 patients with DiC were included (97 males, age 62.1 ± 16.1 years, BMI 25.9 ± 6.1 kg m−2). In comparison to both control groups, DiC patients presented higher ASA and ECOG-scores and more particularly atherosclerotic comorbidities. The most abundant symptoms were abdominal pain (51.8%), diarrhoea (50.7%) and haematochezia (24.3%). The red blood cell count demarcated anaemia (12.7 ± 2.3 mg/dl) and C-reactive protein was slightly elevated (2.7 ± 5.2 mg/dl). The endoscopic features included erythema (46.9%), oedema (29.9%), erosions (29.9%) and ulcers (14.7%). The inflammation affected the rectum rarely (2.4%) but affected the rest of the colon without predilection in a segmental manner (p<.05). The severity of DiC was mostly mild (85.7%).

Conclusions: The phenotype of DiC differs slightly from that of colitis from other causes. Taking the clinical features into account might help to confirm drug-induced aetiology once the pathologist has raised the suspicion.