Disease extent and need for higher infliximab dosing

A recent study (JM Shapiro et al. JPGN 2016; 62: 867-72) reviewed 98 pediatric patients treated with infliximab (2012-2014) with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The authors divided their patients into three groups, mainly based on extent of colonic involvement.  In those with limited colonic involvement, they were labelled “limited” disease (n=53).  In those with patchy inflammation involving the entire colon, they were considered to have “moderate” disease (n=27).  In contrast, those with continuous pancolitis were ascribed to have “extensive” disease (n=18).  Overall, Crohn’s disease accounted for 85 patients (87%),  ulcerative colitis for 11 patients (11%), IBDU for 2 patients (2%).  Interestingly, the majority (9 of 11) of those patients without Crohn’s disease were considered to have extensive disease.

Key findings:

  • “Patients with moderate and extensive disease, started taking 5 mg/kg per dose, showed statistically significant shorter times to escalation that those with limited disease.”
  • 70% of those with extensive disease required dose escalation, compared with 58.3% of those with moderate disease and 26.4% of those with limited disease.
  • The authors note that patients (n=8) with extensive disease who started with 10 mg/kg dosing  “exhibited longer treatment durability;” all 8 patients who started on 10 mg/kg dosing remained on this dose at the study’s conclusion.  Among the 10 patients that started on 5 mg/kg dosing, only 7 were on IFX therapy at the study conclusion–3 remained on 5 mg/kg, 4 were escalated to 10 mg/kg; there were 3 patients who stopped IFX therapy (1 infusion reaction, 2 with nonresponse).

My take: This is a small study. Yet, the implication is that early optimal dosing of IFX is likely  helpful, especially in the setting of extensive disease.

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