Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the lower gastrointestinal tract, which results in episodes of diarrhoea. There may also be extra intestinal symptoms, including anaemia, arthritis, dermatological problems and eye disorders.
The exact causes are unclear, although there are several theories, which include genetic, environmental and microbial factors, possibly associated with an inappropriate immune response.
Although anyone can develop ulcerative colitis it appears to be most common in developed countries, and the risk appears greater if a first-degree relative has the disease. Patients most commonly present at 20–40 years of age and some studies suggest that ulcerative colitis is slightly more common in women than men.
Predsol contains prednisolone, a corticosteroid.
Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects, which reduce the causes of the diarrhoea and thereby settle the disease.
The most significant adverse effect is adrenal suppression, which is most common with long-term, high-dose treatment.
Corticosteroids can also cause increased appetite, weight gain, insomnia, depression, osteoporosis, peptic ulceration and glucose intolerance, leading to diabetes. Immuno suppression caused by this type of treatment can lead to an increased susceptibility to infection. Therefore patients taking corticosteroids (usually in high doses) should not be given live vaccines.