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Let's Talk About Ulcerative Colitis Medication

Whether your symptoms are mild, severe, or somewhere in between, there's a good chance you'll be able to find a medication that helps you heal.

    Our Pro PanelUlcerative Colitis

    We went to some of the nation’s top UC experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Aline J Charabaty Pishvaian

    Aline Charabaty Pishvaian, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Sibley Memorial Hospital
    Washington, D.C.
    Jason Schairer MD

    Jason Schairer, M.D.Senior Staff Gastroenterologist

    Henry Ford Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
    Detroit
    Neilanjan Nandi

    Neilanjan Nandi, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Drexel University School of Medicine
    Philadelphia
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    Frequently Asked QuestionsUC Medications

    What is mesalamine and how does it treat ulcerative colitis?

    Mesalamine is one of the most common treatments for mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. It’s a type of drug called an aminosalicylates (5-ASA), which works to reduce inflammation in your intestinal lining for short- and long-term relief of UC symptoms.

    What are biologics for UC?

    Biologic drugs are medications designed to target key proteins in your immune system that are involved in inflammation. They’re typically recommended for people with moderate-to-severe UC. By working to reduce inflammation at the source, biologic drugs can help reduce UC symptoms and potentially help you achieve remission.

    What are the risks and side effects of steroids for UC?

    Steroids are typically used as a short-term treatment for UC because risks and side effects are common. They can include an increased risk of infections, high blood pressure, insomnia, weight gain, osteoporosis, and more.

    Do doctors ever prescribe antibiotics for UC?

    If you are at risk of infection or already have an infection, your doctor may prescribe you with antibiotics like Flagyl (metronidazole), Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Vancocin (vancomycin), or Xifaxan (Rifaximin). The specific antibiotic you’re prescribed will depend on the type of infection—for example, Vancocin is typically used to treat infection with the bacteria C. difficile. In most cases, these antibiotics will be given in pill form. Sometimes, however, you’ll need to get them through an IV.

    Lara DeSanto

    Lara DeSanto

    @laradesanto

    Lara DeSanto is a former editor of HealthCentral, where she regularly covered digestive health, sexual health, and cancer. She's now a frequent contributor to the site.