Is mesalazine treatment effective in the prevention of diverticulitis? A review

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Diverticulitis is the most severe form of Diverticular disease (DD). An effective treatment strategy for its prevention has not yet been defined. This review aimed to provide a viewpoint on the role of mesalazine, also note as 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), in the prevention of diverticulitis. A systematic electronic search of relevant articles was performed using PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Cochrane. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), open trials, and retrospective studies, published between January 1999 and January 2020, were identified. Twelve eligible studies that analyzed primary or secondary outcomes of diverticulitis were included. The population included patients with symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease (SUDD), or patients with a history of diverticulitis. All studies compared 5-ASA to placebo, rifaximin, or other treatments. Two studies, including 359 patients, assessed the efficacy of 5-ASA in preventing the first appearance of diverticulitis in patients with SUDD. Of these, one showed that 5-ASA was effective, and one did not. Ten studies, including 2.995 patients, assessed the efficacy of 5-ASA treatment in preventing the recurrence of diverticulitis in patients with a history of diverticulitis. Four studies showed that 5-ASA had a certain degree of efficacy. All four RCTs demonstrated that 5-ASA did not significantly reduce the rate of diverticulitis recurrence. In a retrospective trial, 5-ASA was less effective than rifaximin in preventing diverticulitis recurrence. In an open trial, there was no difference between 5-ASA and probiotic treatment. Overall, there is currently conflicting evidence regarding the efficacy of 5-ASA treatment in the prevention of diverticulitis and further RCTs are needed.

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