“Positioning Biologic Therapies in the Management of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease” & 14% of U.S. Infected with COVID-19

J Breton et al. Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2020; 16: 400-14. Full text: Positioning Biologic Therapies in the Management of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This is a terrific summary of biologic therapies for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Compared to adults, the pediatric data is much more limited.  This may affect recommendations.  For example, recent AGA guidelines for moderate to severe ulcerative colitis in adults suggests that either ustekinumab or tofacitinib is generally preferable as a 2nd line agent rather than vedolizumab in patients with primary infliximab failure (Blog post: AGA Guidelines: Moderate to Severe Ulcerative Colitis).  In the chart below, vedolizumab is recognized as a preferred 2nd line agent.

In the section on vedolizumab:

The favorable risk-benefit profile makes vedolizumab an ideal therapeutic choice for pediatric IBD. However, an important limitation is its delayed onset of action, for which corticosteroid use as bridge therapy is often necessary in this population that is already at increased risk of growth failure and bone loss. Recently, Hamel and colleagues published their small, single-center experience of using concomitant tacrolimus between anti-TNFα withdrawal to vedolizumab maintenance as a corticosteroid-sparing bridge therapy in moderate to severe IBD (Ref: Hamel B, Wu M, Hamel EO, Bass DM, Park KT. Outcome of tacrolimus and vedolizumab after corticosteroid and anti-TNF failure in paediatric severe colitis. BMJ Open Gastroenterol. 2018;5(1):e000195).

This article addresses therapeutic drug monitoring:

TDM is a key component of managing IBD patients on anti-TNFα therapy. While  reactive TDM of antiTNFα agents has been adopted by societal guidelines, there is an increasing body of literature to support the benefit of proactive TDM, particularly in pediatric populations

Conclusions from authors: Anti-TNFα agents have revolutionized the management of IBD, positively modifying the natural disease history in children. Importantly, inception cohort studies of pediatric CD and UC (RISK and PROTECT, respectively) have highlighted the variable course of disease and necessity of adopting an individualized approach with early use of biologic therapy in patients at risk of severe disease progression. 

Biologics Used in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition

 

IBD Update -September 2020

Briefly noted:

Safety of Thiopurine Use in Paediatric Gastrointestinal Disease. E Miele et al. JPGN 2020; 71: 156-62. Useful review of thiopurines for IBD and for autoimmune hepatitis

The Effect of Adalimumab Treatment on Linear Growth in Children With Crohn Disease: A Post-hoc Analysis of the PAILOT Randomized Control Trial. M Matar et al. JPGN 2020; 71: 237-42. This study showed that 66 (of 78) who completed 72 weeks of treatment had improved (but not normalized) linear growth (height z-score at baseline improved from -0.62 to -0.33 (P=0.005) and normalization of weight and BMI. The presence of perianal disease was associated with diminished growth velocity.  Overall, this study adds to the literature that anti-TNF agents can reverse growth failure associated with Crohn’s disease.

Full text: Deep Remission at 1 Year Prevents Progression of Early Crohn’s Disease  RC Ungaro et al. Gastroenterol 2020; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.03.039 Key finding: When we adjusted for potential confounders, deep remission (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.19; 95% confidence interval, 0.07–0.31) was significantly associated with a lower risk of major adverse outcome.  This study is reinforced by recent data published at DDW 2020 -Abstract 401: N Plevris et al. “Early Mucosal Healing Key to Long-Term Success.”  This was highlighted by Miguel Regueiro in Gastroendonews.com.  Among 375 patients, those who achieved a fecal calprotectin (FC) <250 mcg/g within one year of diagnosis, the disease progression was 65% slower than those with FC values that did not normalize within a year.  Initiation of a biologic within 3 months of diagnosis, more than quadrupled the likelihood of FC normalization within one year.

 

What Happens After The First Anti-TNF Agent Doesn’t Work?

A recent intriguing retrospective study (MJ Casanova et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2020; 26: 606-16, editorial 617-18) examines a large cohort (n=1122) who received either a 2nd or 3rd anti-TNF agent.  This relied on the ENEIDA registry which is a prospectively maintained registry from Spain with 11,866 patients. In this study, clinical remission was gauged with a Harvey Bradshaw Index score of ≤4 in Crohn’s disease (CD) or a partial Mayo score of ≤2 in ulcerative colitis (UC).

Key findings:

  • 45% of patients achieved remission with the second anti-TNF at 12 weeks (short-term); loss of response was 19% per patient-year subsequently. Patients with intolerance to the first drug had higher remission rates compared to those who switched due to secondary failure (52% vs 42%) or primary failure (52% vs 39%).
  • Among the 45% who responded to a second anti-TNF agent, 77% maintained remission at 1 year following switch.
  • There was similar initial response to a second anti-TNF among patients with CD and UC: 46% vs 41%, though patients with UC were more likely to lose efficacy.
  • Combination therapy was associated with a higher likelihood of failure, HR 2.4 (possibly as an indicator of more aggressive disease)
  • Among the 71 patients who progressed to a 3rd anti-TNF agent, 55% achieved remission at 12 weeks. 

Discussion:

  • The authors in their discussion not that “primary failure is considered a class effect phenomenon…However, our results indicate that remission may still be achieved with a second anti-TNF in approximately 50% of patients.”
  • The editorial notes that the results need to be interpreted with caution.  Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) which is not incorporated in this study is crucial in optimizing response and switching.  “Importantly, nearly two-thirds of patients with therapeutic drug levels in the study form the Mayo Clinic had no active inflammation.  Thus, a change in therapy would be inappropriate in this population.”

My take: This study indicates that a 2nd anti-TNF agent can be effective in those who do not respond to a 1st.  At the same time, careful assessment including TDM is needed when changing agents, especially in view of the limited number of effective therapies.

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From Atlanta Botanical Garden

Highlights in IBD from Two 2019 Meetings: American College of Gastroenterology and United European Gastroenterology Week

Gastroenterology & Hepatology. December 2019 – Volume 15, Issue 12, Supplement 5

Excerpts from William Sandborn Commentary which are at the end of this supplement along with references:

Vedolizumab

In the VARSITY study (An Efficacy and Safety Study of Vedolizumab Intravenous [IV] Compared to Adalimumab Subcutaneous [SC] in Participants With Ulcerative Colitis), 769 patients with ulcerative colitis were randomized to a year of therapy with either adalimumab at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved dose or vedolizumab at the FDA-approved dose…This shows that the idea that vedolizumab (and anti-integrin therapy) is slower-acting than anti-TNF therapy is not correct, and that both of these classes of drugs can work fairly quickly in a number of patients.

Dr Brian Bressler and colleagues looked at the effectiveness of anti-TNF therapy in the real world when used second line after failing first-line biologic therapy with vedolizumab…The study conducted by Dr Bressler and colleagues, which included both Crohn’s disease patients and ulcerative colitis patients, found that the results were fairly similar whether patients received first-line biologic therapy with an anti-TNF agent or whether patients received first-line therapy with vedolizumab… It is generally thought that vedolizumab is a safer therapy than anti-TNF therapy, so with the finding from this study, a reasonable treatment approach could be to start with vedolizumab and see if it works

Dr Christina Chambers and colleagues identified outcomes for pregnancy in 223 women, 53 of whom received vedolizumab. The researchers found that there were no major structural birth defects reported in the vedolizumab group, compared to 5.7% and 5.3% in the disease-matched group and healthy control group, respectively. Thus, there seemed to be no signal for an increased malformation risk in patients who were undergoing treatment with vedolizumab and became pregnant.

Adalimumab

The SERENE trials are a set of head-to-head trials, one for ulcerative colitis and one for Crohn’s disease, comparing standard-dose adalimumab to a more intensive induction regimen of adalimumab…

For both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the SERENE trials showed that the current FDA-approved dosing regimen is effective and that more intensive induction therapy does not improve outcomes over time. Thus, there is no utility in giving high induction doses. 

Tofacitinib

Over 1000 patients who had been treated with tofacitinib were examined…during induction and maintenance of the placebo-controlled portion of the tofacitinib clinical trials, there were a total of 5 deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli events. All 5 occurred in patients who were receiving placebo; none of these events occurred in patients who were receiving tofacitinib…[And] There was a total of 5 deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli events during this long-term extension…Looking at the ulcerative colitis clinical trial data that I presented, it is somewhat reassuring that we did not see the same elevation in risk for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli that was seen in the high-risk rheumatoid arthritis patient population.

Mont Royal (Montreal)

IBD Updates December 2019

SR Gupta et al. JPGN 2019; 69: 544-50.  This article reports on preliminary experience in 54 children who received external (non-hospital) infliximab infusions. The average age was 17.6 years. The authors noted no serious safety concerns.  Prior to arranging these infusions, the authors insisted on the following:

  • Infusion services had to guarantee pediatric trained nurses with PALS certification
  • Emergency medications had to be available
  • A plan for emergency communication was arranged
  • Postinfusion communication would occur with each infusion

BN Limketkai et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2019; 25: 1828-37.  This study, using Truven Health MarketScan database (2007-16) reviewed proactive or reactive mucosal monitoring after biologic initiation in IBD.  Early (< 6 months) proactive monitoring (88% endoscopy-based) was performed in 11% (n=2195/19,899) of patients with Crohn’s and 12.8% (925/7247) of patients with ulcerative colitis.

  • “Early proactive monitoring was associated with a reduction in disease-related complications for CD (aHR 0.90) and UC (aHR 0.87) and predominantly driven by a reduction in corticosteroid use.”
  • Another interesting finding was that ~40% of patients had biologic therapy initiated without assessment of mucosal disease activity within 6 months.
  • The authors state that disease monitoring is typically more useful in CD than UC because with the latter, cessation of bleeding and diarrhea appear to be adequate surrogates.
  • This study was not able to assess whether a biomarker like fecal calprotectin would be suitable due to its low utilization.

RZ Cohen, BT Schoen, S Kugathasan, CG Sauer. JPGN 2019; 69: 551-6. In this chart review, the authors identified anti-drug antibodies (ADA) in 24.8% (n=58) of patients undergoing therapeutic drug monitoring (n=234) with both infliximab and adalimumab.  54% of this group had antibody suppression with dose optimization. Of note, 37 patients had detectable ADA at time of initial drug monitoring. Dose optimization was 10 mg/kg every 4 weeks with infliximab or 40 mg weekly with adalimumab. Patients who were switched to a second anti-TNF agent (n=23) were not more likely to develop ADA to the second agent (small sample size). Also, the authors caution that in the five patients with ADA levels (>10 U/mL), dose optimization failed and patients required a therapeutic switch. My take: This study provides some useful information about the frequency of ADA.  My view is that the actual drug level is more critical than the presence of ADA; though, the presence of high ADA often precludes the ability to deliver a therapeutic drug level.

Related blog posts:

Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Here’s The Proof That Proactive Drug Monitoring Improves Outcomes in Children With Crohn’s Disease

A nonblinded randomized controlled trial (A Assa et al. Gastroenterology 2019; 157: 985-06) with 78 children who had Crohn’s disease provides some of the best evidence to date that proactive therapeutic drug monitoring (pTDM) is important for anti-TNF therapy. The trial was called the PAILOT =Paediatric Crohn’s disease Adalimumab-Level-based Optimisation Treatment.  This is the first RCT of pTDM that actually achieved its primary end point.

In this study, children were divided into a pTDM group (n=38) who received adalimumab levels at weeks 4 and 8 along with every 8 weeks unitl week 72.  The control group (n=31) had reactive monitoring.  The investigators aimed for a trough concentrations above 5 mcg/mL.

Key findings:

  • The primary endpoint of sustained corticosteroid-free clinical remission (CFCR) was achieved in 82% of the pTDM group compared to 48% in the reactive monitoring group (p-.002).
  • The pTMD also  had a higher rate of the composite outcome (CFCR, CRP ≤0.5 mg/dL, and calprotectin ≤150): 42% compared to 12% in the control group (p=.003)
  • 87% of pTDM had dose intensification compared to 60% in control group.

The editorial by Papamichael and Cheifetz (pg 922-4) highlights some additional observations:

  • “The study actually showed that a 10.0 mcg/mL threshold performed better than 7.5 and 5.0 mcg/mL” with respect to PCDAI and CRP levels.
  • “The recent prospective Personalized anti-TNF therapy in Crohn’s disease study (PANTS) showed that the optimal week 14 adalimumab concentration …at both week 14 and 54 was 12 mcg/mL”

My take: Most pediatric gastroenterologist understand the importance of pTDM, especially as conventional dosing of anti-TNF agents is often too low.  This study provides some needed proof and hopefully will aid our efforts to get adequate insurance coverage.  The optimal frequency and timing of pTDM still needs work.

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I really enjoyed my recent trip to Chicago. Here’s a picture from Lincoln Park Zoo from my favorite photographer

CCFA: Updates in IBD Conference (part 1)

My notes from a recent Georgia Chapter of CCFA’s conference. There could be errors of omission, transcription and/or errors in context based on my understanding.

Adam Cheifetz, MD Harvard School of Medicine

Optimizing IBD Treatments

  • Earlier treatment with effective therapies
  • Utilizing therapeutic drug monitoring

Goals are clinical and endoscopic remission

  • Imaging if not visible on endoscopy
  • Biomarker remission -adjunctive goal
  • Symptoms and endoscopy do not have good correlation in Crohn’s disease
  • Endoscopic healing associated with better outcomes
  • Treatment –>assessment –> adjust treatment if goal is not met

Biologic Agents:

  • First agent works best; TNF-exposed patients do not respond as well as TNF-naive patients to subsequent biologic
  • High rate of secondary loss of response

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring:

  • Combination therapy in Sonic study was associated with higher infliximab levels. It appears that optimized monotherapy is as effective as combination therapy (Colombel study).
  • Fistula treatment requires higher biologic levels
  • Lower biologic drug levels associated with development of antidrug antibodies
  • Proactive monitoring –recommended
  • Both infliximab and adalimumab are frequently underdosed, especially in pediatrics –>another reason for proactive monitoring
  • If sicker patients, consider checking TDM at week 10; less sick patients, reasonable to consider TDM at week 14

Related blog posts:

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Vedolizumab versus Adalimumab for Ulcerative Colitis (part 2)

A previous blog post (Vedolizumab More Effective Than Adalimumb for Ulcerative Colitis) highlighted a preliminary report on the “VARSITY” study. The full report has now been published (BE Sands et al NEJM 2019; 381: 1215-26) and a little nuance is needed.

This double-blind, double-dummy randomized trial included 769 patients who underwent randomization to receive at least one dose of one of the study medications.

Key findings:

  • At week 52, clinical remission was higher in the vedolizumab group: 31.3% compared to 22.5% for adalimumab
  • Endoscopic improvement was better for vedolizumab: 39.7% compared to 27.7%
  • Corticosteroid-free remission was better for adalimumab: 21.8% compared to 12.6% for vedolizumab

Limitations:

  • dose escalation was not allowed during the study –this limitation likely favors vedolizumab compared to adalimumab
  • previous exposure to an anti-TNF agent was allowed in up to 25% of patients

My take:  In two of three key measures, vedolizumab outperformed adalimumab.  This study provides a rationale for vedolizumab to be considered a first-line agent.  That being said, in my clinical experience, infliximab is a much more frequently used anti-TNF agent in moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis.  So a head-to-head study with infliximab would be of interest.

The image below shows histologic remission differences at week 52

 

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Appropriate Proactive Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

This blog post and tomorrow’s post highlights two articles on proactive therapeutic drug monitoring (pTDM) for inflammatory bowel disease.  The first article (K Papmichael et al.  Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019; 17: 1655-68) summarizes a meeting of 13 international IBD specialists who reached consensus on 24 statements after a review of the literature.

Full Text Link:  Appropriate Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Biologic Agents for Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Key Recommendations:

  • For anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapies, proactive TDM was found to be appropriate after induction and at least once during maintenance therapy, but this was not the case for the other biologics.
  • Reactive TDM was appropriate for all biologic agents both for primary non-response and secondary loss of response

Background/Rationale for pTDM:

  • “Numerous studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between serum biologic drug.concentrations and favorable therapeutic outcomes”
  • “Low or undetectable drug concentrations can lead to immunogenicity and treatment failures”
  • “TDM…is an important tool for optimizing biologic therapy…Data suggest that pTDM, with drug titration to a target trough concentration, performed in patients with clinical response/remission can also improve the efficacy of anti-TNFs”

Table 4  Scenarios of Applying Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Biological Therapy in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

1-4: Anti-TNFs:

  • It is appropriate to order drug/antibody concentration testing in responders at the end of induction for all anti-TNFs.
  • It is appropriate to order drug/antibody concentration testing at least once during maintenance for patients on all anti-TNFs.
  • It is appropriate to order drug/antibody concentration testing of anti-TNFs at the end of induction in primary non-responders.
  • It is appropriate to order drug/antibody concentration testing for all anti-TNFs in patients with confirmed secondary loss of response.

5-8: Vedolizumab -agreement only on ordering TDM in non-responders or those with loss of response

9-12: Ustekinumab  -agreement only on ordering TDM in non-responders or those with loss of response

From Table 5: Biological Drug Concentrations and Anti-Drug Antibodies When Applying Therapeutic Drug Monitoring in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Infliximab: 15. In the presence of adequate trough drug concentrations, anti-drug antibodies are unlikely to be clinically relevant.
  • Infliximab: 19. The minimal trough concentration for infliximab post-induction at week 14 should be greater than 3 μg/mL, and concentrations greater than 7 μg/mL are associated with an increased likelihood of mucosal healing.
  • Adalimumab: 22. The minimum drug concentration at week 4 for adalimumab should at least be 5 μg/mL. Drug concentrations greater than 7 μg/ml are associated with an increased likelihood of mucosal healing.
  • Certolizumab: 24 & 25: The minimum concentrations for certolizumab pegol at week 6 should be greater than 32 μg/mL and 15 μg/mL during maintenance.
  • Golimumab 26 & 27: The minimum drug concentration at week 6 for golimumab should at least be 2.5 μg/mL and 1 μg/mL.during maintenance

My take: This article provides extensive literature to reinforce their recommendations.  Most of the trough levels mentioned are minimum levels that need to be achieved.

 

Toronto Consensus Guidelines for Luminal Crohn’s Disease

The recommendations from the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology for luminal Crohn’s Disease in adults were published in two journals.  R Panaccione et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019; 17: 1680-1713 and R Panaccione et al . 2019 Aug; 2(3): e1–e34.

Full text link : Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Luminal Crohn’s Disease

A few of the 41 statement recommendations:

  • 6. In patients with mild to moderate ileal and/or right colonic Crohn’s disease, we suggest oral budesonide beginning at 9 mg/day as first-line therapy to induce complete remission. GRADE: Conditional recommendation, low-quality evidence
  • 20. In patients with moderate to severe luminal Crohn’s disease with risk factors of poor prognosis, we recommend anti-TNF therapy (infliximab, adalimumab) as first-line therapy to induce complete remission. GRADE: Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence
  • 23. In patients with active Crohn’s disease, when starting anti-TNF therapy, we suggest it be combined with a thiopurine or methotrexate over monotherapy to improve pharmacokinetic parameters. GRADE: Conditional recommendation, very low-quality evidence for infliximab, very low-quality evidence for adalimumab
  • 29. We suggest against switching between anti-TNF therapies in patients who are doing well on anti-TNF therapy. GRADE: Conditional recommendation, low-quality evidence
  • 30. In patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who fail to achieve complete remission with any of corticosteroids, thiopurines, methotrexate, or anti-TNF therapy, we recommend vedolizumab to induce complete remission. GRADE: Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence
  • 34. In patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who fail to achieve complete remission with any of corticosteroids, thiopurines, methotrexate, or anti-TNF therapy, we recommend ustekinumab to induce complete remission. GRADE: Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence
  • 37-41: Authors against the use of probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, marijuana, naltrexone and enteral nutrition/diet therapies.

Crater Lake and Wizard Island