5-ASA-MMX (1.2 g/tablet) is a 5-aminosalicylic acid formulation, designed for once-daily dosing in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of 5-ASA-MMX (2.4 g/day, once daily), compared with Asacol (2.4 g/day, twice daily) in the maintenance of left-sided UC, through a double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group, randomized, comparator study. In all, 331 patients with UC were randomized to receive either 5-ASA-MMX 2.4 g/day, once daily, or Asacol 2.4 g/day, twice daily, for 12 months. All patients were in remission for >or=1 month prior to the trial, with >or=1 documented relapse in the previous year. The co-primary endpoints of this study were the proportion of patients in clinical, and clinical and endoscopic remission following 12 months' treatment. In the intent-to-treat population, excluding those with major protocol deviations, 68.0 and 65.9% patients in the 5-ASA-MMX and Asacol groups, respectively, were in clinical remission (P = 0.69), and 60.9 and 61.7% of patients, respectively, were in clinical and endoscopic remission (P = 0.89). Diary card data revealed statistically significant treatment differences favouring 5-ASA-MMX. Both treatments were similarly tolerated. Once-daily 5-ASA-MMX is similarly effective with a comparable safety profile to Asacol administered twice daily, for the maintenance treatment of ulcerative colitis.