At least 50% of patients with long-term infliximab therapy require dose escalation. However, dose escalation can mean doubling the dose or shortening the infusion interval. So which strategy is best? A recent article provides some insight into this question (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012; 18: 2026-33).
In this multicenter retrospective study of 168 Crohn’s disease (CD) patients, the outcome of patients who had dose-doubling (n=112) to 10 mg/kg/dose/8 weeks was compared with patients whose infusion intervals were halved to 5 mg/kg/dose/4 weeks (n=56). The entire cohort had a mean age of 25 years and a mean disease duration of 12 years. 39% had a history of previous intestinal surgery. Concurrent use of thiopurines was noted in 68% and concurrent use of methotrexate in 4%.
Sustained response at 1 year to dose-doubling strategy was 50% compared with 39% in the interval-halving group. Favorable factors included nonsmoking status, normal C-reactive protein, and CD diagnosis between 16-40 years of age.
It is noted that a subsequent dose escalation was experienced by 28 of the 87 patients who had loss of response after first dose escalation. Regained response occurred in 9 (32%) of this cohort.
The authors indicate that increasing the dose to 10 mg/kg/8 weeks is likely preferable due to convenience and cost. At the same time, it is apparent that shortening the infusion interval is not likely to be more effective than dose doubling.
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