A Definite Maybe: Antibiotics for Acute Severe Colitis

D Turner et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2020; 26: 1733-1742. Antibiotic Cocktail for Pediatric Acute Severe Colitis and the Microbiome: The PRASCO Randomized Controlled Trial

This randomized study with 28 children with acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC) (PUCAI > /= 65) tried to determine if antibiotics with IV corticosteroids resulted in improved outcomes compared to IV corticosteroids alone. Most in the antibiotic group received the following for 3 weeks:

  • Vancomycin 250 mg 4/day (if less than 8 years, then 125 mg 4/day)
  • Amoxicillin 50 mg/kg/day divided into 3/day dosing (max 500 mg/dose)
  • Metronidazole 5 mg/kg/dose 3/day (max 250 mg/dose)
  • Doxycycline 2 mg/kg/dose 2/day (children less than 7 years rec’d ciprofloxacin 10 mg/kg 2/day -max 250 mg/dose)

Key findings:

  • The mean day-5 PUCAI was 25 ± 16.7 in the abx/steroid combination group vs 40.4 ± 20.4 in the steroid monotherapy group (P = 0.037)
  • Median calprotectin values were lower in the abx combination group at day 5 (1202 vs. 2170, P=0.24) and at discharge (1210 vs 1840, P=0.695)
  • The need for 2nd line rescue therapy was low in both groups: 19% in abx group and 17% in the steroid group
  • Within 1 year, 3/16 (19%) in the abx combination group had had a colectomy compared with 2/12 (17%) in the steroid monotherapy.
  • The authors found no correlation between microbial features/microbiome at admissioin and clinical response 5 days later

In their discussion, the authors note that if antibiotics had a treatment benefit as high as 30% in avoiding second-line treatment (ie, 14% in intervention arm), “randomization of 1228 children would be required to show such a difference with a power of 80%.”

My take: I agree with the authors who state that “antibiotics cannot be routinely recommended until larger studies demonstrate a reduced need for second-line treatment or colectomy.”

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2 thoughts on “A Definite Maybe: Antibiotics for Acute Severe Colitis

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