Published online Oct 21, 2007. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i39.5238
Revised: August 8, 2007
Accepted: September 24, 2007
Published online: October 21, 2007
AIM: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of a long-term therapy with infliximab in Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) patients retrospectively.
METHODS: The medical charts of 50 patients (40 CD and 10 UC), who received after a loading dose of 3 infliximab infusions scheduled re-treatments every 8 wk as a maintenance protocol, were reviewed.
RESULTS: Median (range) duration of treatment was 27 (4-64) mo in CD patients and 24.5 (6-46) mo in UC patients. Overall, 32 (80%) CD and 9 (90%) UC patients showed a sustained clinical response or remission throughout the maintenance period. Three CD patients shortened the interval between infusions. Eight (20%) CD patients and 1 UC patient underwent surgery for flare up of disease. Nine out of 29 CD and 4 out of 9 UC patients, who discontinued infliximab scheduled treatment, are still relapse-free after a median of 16 (5-30) and 6.5 (4-16) mo following the last infusion, respectively. Ten CD patients (25%) and 1 UC patient required concomitant steroid therapy during maintenance period, compared to 30 (75%) and 9 (90%) patients at enrolment. Of the 50 patients, 16 (32%) experienced at least 1 adverse event and 3 patients (6%) were diagnosed with cancer during maintenance treatment.
CONCLUSION: Scheduled infliximab strategy is effective in maintaining long-term clinical remission both in CD and UC and determines a marked steroid sparing effect. Long-lasting remission was observed following infliximab withdrawal.