PoPSTER research study

Patient preferences and current Practice for adults with STERoid resistant ulcerative colitis (PoPSTER)

POPSTER project logo


Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a lifelong Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) where people develop ulcers in the lining of the colon (also known as the large bowel). UC has many painful symptoms and has a big impact on quality of life.

People with this disease may have long periods of remission (good health) but many will have relapses where their symptoms get worse.

Steroids are one of the potential treatments for UC, but this is only effective for about half of the people with this condition, the other half can be described as ‘steroid resistant’. 

A number of other treatments are recommended for use in this country, but the supporting research evidence is limited. For example, there are no direct ‘head-to-head’ comparisons and it is often not clear whether the people who took part in these studies were resistant to, or dependent on steroids.

To confuse matters, there is no agreed definition of steroid resistance in this patient group.

The PoPSTER study

PoPSTER is a mixed methods study, designed to understand how adults with steroid resistant UC are being managed in secondary care, and how current clinical practice compares with patient and clinician preferences. The study is divided into five concurrent work packages, each with a corresponding objective. These are outlined below:

Work package 1

Describe current practice in the management of adults with steroid resistant UC and how medical resistance is defined.

Work package 2

Understand how treatment pathways and definitions of steroid resistance are operationalised in practice.

Work package 3

Understand patient experiences of different treatment options and approaches to decision making.

Work package 4

Estimate the relative utility of different treatment options; elicit patient and clinician preferences for these and their willingness to trade between them.

Work package 5

Make recommendations about future research and treatment options.

This study is funded by NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA 17/72/02). This is a two-year study which commenced on 1st November 2018.

Central study staff

Name Role Organisation Contact
Professor Alan Lobo Chief Investigator Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust alan.lobo@sth.nhs.uk
Dr Lizzie Coates Research Fellow University of Sheffield e.coates@sheffield.ac.uk
Zoe Furniss Trial Support Officer University of Sheffield z.furniss@sheffield.ac.uk


Name Role Organisation
Professor Christopher Probert Professor of Gastroenterology University of Liverpool
Dr Shaji Sebastian Consultant Gastroenterologist and IBD Service Lead Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Dr Aoife Howard Research Associate University of Sheffield
Dr Daniel Hind Senior Research Fellow and Assistant Director University of Sheffield
Dr Philip Shackley Reader in Health Economics University of Sheffield
Mr Matthew Lee Clinical Research Fellow (Registrar) Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Ms Nikki Totton Medical Statistician University of Sheffield
Ms Sue Blackwell Patient Representative University of Sheffield
Ms Nicola Dames Patient Representative University of Sheffield
Mr Hugh Bedford Patient Representative University of Sheffield


Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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