Vedolizumab and Extraintestinal Manifestations of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

A recent retrospective study( MC Dubinsky et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2018; 24: 1876-82) indicates that vedolizumab (VDZ) is likely to less effective than anti-TNF agents for extraintestinal manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The authors used the MarketScan database (2102-2016).  For Crohn’s disease (CD) this included 756 treated with VDZ and 19584 treated with anti-TNF.  For ulcerative colitis (UC), this included 544 treated with VDZ and 8574 treated with anti-TNF.

Key findings:

  • Compared to patients receiving anti-TNF therapy, VDZ-treated CD patients were 28% more likely to develop “any EIMs” with an adjusted rate ratio of 1.49.  The adjusted rate ratio of developing specific EIMs: erythema nodosum  4.29, aphthous stomatitis 3.71, episcleritis/scleritis 2.51, arthropathy 1.45, primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) 7.79, and uveitis/iritis 2.89.
  • VDZ-treated UC patients did not have a statistically-significant increase in general for EIMs; though when looked at individually, there was increased incident rate ratios for some: apthous stomatitis 3.67, pyoderma gangrenosum 4.42, and PSC 3.44.

The authors findings are counter to their hypothesis that VDZ-treated patients would not have a significantly higher incidence of EIMs and that the EIMs would parallel course with IBD. To explain their findings, the authors note the following:

  • “EIMs may be more associated with systemic inflammation than previously thought.”
  • “Alternatively, the correlation between specific EIMs and underlying intestinal disease activity may be less tight than previously described.”
  • Anti-TNFs may control intestinal inflammation better than VDZ
  • VDZ-treated patients may have had more severe disease

While EIMs are more likely to develop on VDZ therapy, this study and prior RCTs do not show whether VDZ is effective in resolving EIMs.

My take: This retrospective study indicates that EIMs, including PSC, are more likely to occur in patients receiving vedolizumab. It is unclear whether this is related to the gut-specific control of inflammation with VDZ or whether there are patient characteristics responsible for this observation.

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Sunshine Meadows, Banff

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