OBJECTIVE: There are no reports of the clinical features or treatment outcomes in large series of patients with lymphocytic colitis, and it is not known whether treatments that appear to be beneficial in patients with collagenous colitis are also beneficial in lymphocytic colitis. We sought to analyze these issues in our patients with lymphocytic colitis. METHODS: All patients with biopsy-proven lymphocytic colitis evaluated at our institution between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 1999, were identified. Clinical features on presentation and treatment outcomes were abstracted from the medical records. RESULTS: A total of 170 patients with lymphocytic colitis were identified (median age 67 yr, 61% female). Diarrhea, bloating, rectal urgency, fecal incontinence, weight loss, concomitant autoimmune disorders, and aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use were common. Loperamide, diphenoxylate/atropine, and bismuth subsalicylate were effective therapies and were well tolerated. However, no therapy produced a complete response in more than 40% of patients. CONCLUSIONS: Lymphocytic colitis typically presents in elderly patients as chronic diarrhea. Nocturnal stools, urgency, and abdominal pain occur frequently, as do weight loss, fecal incontinence, and concomitant autoimmune disorders. Many empiric treatment options are used, but overall response rates are disappointing. Randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the optimum therapeutic approach to these patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas