G Bougen et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 18: 628-36. This retrospective study (n=156, median age 32 years) found that anti-TNF therapy delays or prevents surgery for almost half of patients with Crohn’s disease who had luminal fistulas. Key findings:
- With a median followup of 3.5 years, “68 patients (43.6%) underwent a major abdominal surgery.”
- Fistula healing occurred on average 1 year after the introduction of anti-TNF treatment
- The presence of a stricture or abscess increased the likelihood of surgery.
- Three patients died from intestinal adenocarcinomas, one patient died from melanoma (6 months after initiation of anti-TNF therapy), one patient died from sepsis (3 months after initiation of anti-TNF therapy, and 32 patients (20.5%) developed an intestinal abscess.
My take: Therapy with anti-TNF agent, in the setting of a luminal fistula, is a reasonable option, especially in the absence of a concurrent stricture.
FS Troelsen, S Jick. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2020; 26: 440-7, editorial 448-9. Using a UK database, the authors identified 461 cases of ulcerative colitis (UC) and 863 cases of Crohn’s disease (CD) and then matched each case to 4 controls. Key findings:
- There was no association between ever use of antibiotics and UC, OR 1.02 or CD, OR 1.01 compared to never use of antibiotics
- CD was associated with antibiotic exposure before age 5 (OR 2.2) in analysis restricted to individuals followed from birth
- A slight increase was seen for CD in ever users of quinolones (OR 1.76, CI 1.00-3.11) and metronidazole (OR 1.43, CI 0.87-2.34)
In the editorial, Charles Bernstein notes that “it may be that specific types of antibiotics…at specific times in a person’s life have differential risks for IBD development. Also, it may be that what triggers IBD in children is different than what triggers IBD later in life.”