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Patient Characteristics Predict Relapse in Ulcerative Colitis

Study shows females and those with higher education are at increased risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Two-thirds of patients with ulcerative colitis will experience a relapse during a 10-year period, and females and those with more education tend to relapse earlier, while smokers have fewer overall relapses, according to study findings published in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. In addition, a short time to first relapse is associated with more total relapses.

Ole Hoie, M.D., of Sorlandet Hospital Arendal in Arendal, Norway, and colleagues followed 771 individuals from Europe and Israel with ulcerative colitis over a 10-year period to attempt to identify causative factors for relapse.

Overall, 67 percent of patients experienced at least one relapse. The time to first relapse was shorter in women (hazard ratio, 1.2) and those with high education levels (HR, 1.4). A short time to first relapse was also associated with a greater number of relapses. Current smokers had a lower relapse rate (HR, 0.8) than non-smokers.

"The possibility of a relationship between short time to first relapse and a large number of relapses during the further course of disease should be taken into consideration when the initial treatment strategy for an ulcerative colitis patient is being decided," write the authors. "The risk factors for relapsing ulcerative colitis identified in this study should be included in the global assessment of disease."

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