Picking Apart the SERENE-CD Study & Constipation Vibrating Capsule FDA Approved

Several recent letters to the editor provide some insight into some of the shortcomings of the SERENE-CD study which reported that higher adalimumab induction dosing and proactive therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) were not associated with improved outcomes.

“The rerandomization design of SERENE CD, which selectively enrolled patients with clinical response at week 12 to the TDM vs CA part of the study, may have resulted in the exclusion of those who would have benefited the most from early adjustment of their anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) dose. The rerandomization design and the late adaptation of the proactive strategy at week 12 were 2 significant aspects of the design that may have led to the negative results. On the other hand, PAILOT, which showed beneficial effects of proactive TDM, randomized patients as early as week 4 and assessed the outcome at week 72. This is distinct from the 1-year time frame used in most other studies, including SERENE CD.8 A properly designed, adequately powered clinical trial is needed before we can make a judgement on the use of proactive TDM in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Until then, the jury remains out.”

“The study design only allowed patients in the TDM group with adalimumab concentrations of ≥5 and ≤10 μg/mL to be escalated to 40 mg every week if their CD activity index was ≥220 or their high-sensitivity C-reactive protein level was ≥10 mg/L.. The goal of proactive TDM is to attain a threshold concentration regardless of disease activity. This design probably led the 2 groups to have similar drug concentrations at week 56…

Second, a rather low targeted drug concentration of 5 μg/mL was used, although previous studies have suggested that higher concentrations are more appropriate.5678 A study from Ungar et al5 showed that adalimumab concentrations of 8–12 μg/mL are required to achieve mucosal healing in 80%–90% of patients with IBD, and the prospective PANTS (The Personalised Anti-TNF Therapy in Crohn’s Disease Study) study identified an adalimumab concentration of 12 μg/mL at week 14 associated with remission at both week 14 and week 54.8..

Third, dose escalation for the TDM group could only happen at weeks 14, 28, or 42 (and not earlier and more often). In the PAILOT RCT, proactive TDM based on adalimumab concentration evaluations started as early as week 4 followed by week 8 and every 8 weeks thereafter until the end of the follow-up at week 72.3 Fourth, there was a rather short follow-up of the patients (44 weeks).”

” Even with the assumption of a 30% benefit of proactive TDM and that 20% of patients would have low drug levels in the absence of symptoms, the sample size for 80% power would range from 1228 to 2170. Thus, although SERENE CD1 and other clinical trials3,4 have suggested a lack of benefit of proactive TDM in adults with inflammatory bowel disease, all were likely substantially underpowered to do so.”

My take: While the SERENE-CD results have suggested that a strategy of proactive TDM may not be helpful, there are a lot of reasons to disregard these findings. Achieving a therapeutic level is a fundamental principle and proactive TDM, particularly in pediatrics, is well-supported by other studies.

Related blog posts:

Also noted:

IBD Updates: Rising Burden of IBD, Calprotectin in Severe Colitis, Postoperative Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, Formula Choice for EEN

M Agrawal et al. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 1547-1554. Open Access! The Rising Burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Denmark Over Two Decades: A Nationwide Cohort Study

Key findings:

  • Between 1995 and 2016, the incidence rate (95% confidence interval) per 100,000 person-years rose from 9.1 (8.3–10.0) to 17.8 (16.8–19.0) for CD, and from 21.0 (19.8–22.3) to 28.4 (27.0–29.8) for UC.
  • The highest increase in CD and UC incidence rates occurred in children and young adults, respectively.
  • The prevalence of IBD doubled from 1995 to 2016; the greatest increase (2.5-fold) was in UC prevalence among individuals aged >40 years. During this period, the median age of the IBD population increased by 6 to 7 years.

Y Pan et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1865-1871. Utility of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring for Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonists and Ustekinumab in Postoperative Crohn’s Disease

In this retrospective study (n=130), therapeutic drug levels in the postoperative period were associated with improved outcomes for anti-TNF agents (infliximab (IFX) or adalimumab (ADA) but NOT for ustekinumab (UST):

  • In patients with IFX ≥3 µg/mL, higher rates of deep remission (39% vs 0%; P = .02) existed compared with those with IFX less than 3 µg/mL. This was true for clinical remission (44% vs 9%; P = .04) and objective (83% vs 62%; P = .1) remission. 
  •  In patients with ADA ≥7.5 µg/mL, rates of deep (42% vs 0%; P = .02), clinical (42% vs 0%; P = .02), and objective (88% vs 40%; P = .007) remission were higher than patients with lower concentrations.
  • For UST, rates of deep (28% vs 17%; P = 1.0), clinical (33% vs 33%; P = 1.0), and objective (70% vs 67%; P = 1.0) remission were similar between patients regardless of drug concentration.

S Sasidharan et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1833-1837. Fecal Calprotectin Is a Predictor of Need for Rescue Therapy in Hospitalized Severe Colitis

In this retrospective study (n=147), a fecal calprotectin >800 mcg/g independently predicted the need for inpatient medical rescue therapy (odds ratio, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.12-6.12). An admission calprotectin >800 mcg/g independently predicted surgery within 3 months (odds ratio, 2.88; 95% CI, 1.01-8.17). My take: This is the least surprising study I’ve read this past month —those with more severe colitis, based on calprotectin values, were more likely to need more intensive treatments.

R Dawson et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1859-1864. Comparing Effectiveness of a Generic Oral Nutritional Supplement With Specialized Formula in the Treatment of Active Pediatric Crohn’s Disease

In this retrospective pediatric study (n=171), the authors found that a generic oral supplement (Fortsip) was as effective as a specialized formula (Modulen IBD) for enteral nutrition. “No difference was demonstrated in remission rate (Fortisip n = 67 of 106 [63%] vs Modulen IBD n = 41 of 64 [64%], P = .89), nonadherence rate (Fortisip n = 7 of 106 [7%] vs Modulen IBD 3 of 64 [5%], P = .57) or method of administration.” The main difference in outcome was a lower expense in the group receiving the generic formula. My take: This study is in agreement with previous studies.

Related blog posts:

Treatments for “Bad” Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Part 1)

Generally, in my view, “bad” inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) occurs when treatments are not working; though, many would argue that any IBD is bad IBD. Over the next few days, reviewed articles will focus on the problem of IBD that is not responding well to treatment.

A Yerushalmy-Feler et al. JPGN 2022; 75: 717-723. Safety and Potential Efficacy of Escalating Dose of Ustekinumab in Pediatric Crohn Disease (the Speed-up Study): A Multicenter Study from the Pediatric IBD Porto Group of ESPGHAN

In this retrospective study with 69 children with Crohn’s disease (CD) from 25 centers, the authors looked at the effectiveness of ustekinumab (UST) dose escalation which entailed reducing frequency to less than every 8 weeks. Most children were biologic (98.6%)- and immunomodulator (86.8%)- experienced.

Key findings:

  • Clinical response and remission were observed at 3 months after UST escalation in 46 (67%) and 29 (42%) children, respectively.
  • Fecal calprotectin level from 1100 (500–2300) to 515 (250–1469) µg/g (P = 0.012) 3 months post-escalation
  • Endoscopic and transmural healing were achieved in 3 of 19 (16%) and 2 of 15 (13%) patients, respectively

In their discussion, the authors note that UST has not received FDA approval despite the fact that it has become a common second- and third-line biologic therapy for pediatric CD.

My take: This study supports the common practice of escalation of UST for children with active CD despite treatment at every 8 weeks.

Related Ustekinumab Studies:

Related blog posts:

Deepdene Park, Atlanta. Part of Olmstead Linear Park

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.

Most Popular 2022 Posts

The list of the most viewed gutsandgrowth blog posts in 2022.

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Improving MRE Utility in Pediatric Crohn’s

G Focht et al. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 1306-1320. Open Access! Development, Validation, and Evaluation of the Pediatric Inflammatory Crohn’s Magnetic Resonance Enterography Index From the ImageKids Study

In this prospective study of children (n-240) with Crohn’s disease, the authors utilized ileocolonoscopy and MREs (n=159) and followed for 18 months.

Key findings:

  • 5 MRE findings were identified to generate a PICMI (Pediatric Inflammatory Crohn’s Magnetic Resonance Enterography Index): wall thickness, wall diffusion weighted imaging, ulcerations, mesenteric edema, and comb sign
  • In the validation cohort of 81 MREs, the weighted global PICMI correlated well with the radiologist global assessment (r = 0.85; P < .001) and with the simple endoscopic score in a subsample with ileocolonic disease (r = 0.63; P < .001).
  •  Interobserver and test-retest reliability were high (interclass correlation coefficients, 0.84 and 0.81, respectively; both P < .001)
  • Transmural healing was defined as PICMI ≤10 and response as a change of >20 points with excellent discriminative validity (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.96

My take: This study identifies a specific MRI index (PICMI) that is reliable for assessing the entire bowel in pediatric CD and does not require intravenous gadolinium or rectal enema. By using a standardized tool, similar to SEMA-CD for ileocolonoscopy, this will improve the usefulness of MREs.

Also noted: Link: Clinical support tool (sponsored by AGA) that provides individualized information on 2nd line therapy effectiveness (ustekinumab and vedolizumab) with regard to probability of achieving clinical remission, how quick to expect a response, and whether therapeutic drug monitoring is needed.

Related blog posts:

Improving Natural History of Pediatric Crohn’s Disease with Biologic Therapy -Two Studies

D Ley et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 2588-2597. Open Access! New Therapeutic Strategies Have Changed the Natural History of Pediatric Crohn’s Disease: A Two-Decade Population-Based Study

This retrospective study dating back to 1988 examined 1007 patients diagnosed with CD who were followed up for a median duration of 8.8 years.

Key findings:

  • The risk for intestinal resection at 5 years decreased significantly over time (P1, 35%; P2, 31%; and P3, 22%; P = .0003. This decrease in resections coincided with increased use of immunosuppressive (IS) and anti-TNF therapy: IS and anti-TNF exposure rate at 5 years increased from 33.9% (in P1) to 76.5% (in P3) and from 0% (in P1) to 50.5% (in P3).
  • The risk for progression from inflammatory to stricturing behavior decreased significantly over time (P1, 27%; P2, 28%; and P3, 20%)

LE Targownik et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 2607-2618. Earlier Anti-TNF Initiation Leads to Long-term Lower Health Care Utilization in Crohn’s Disease but Not in Ulcerative Colitis

Methods: The authors “used health administrative data from Manitoba, Canada to identify all persons with a new diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) between 2001 and 2018 who received tumor necrosis factor antagonists (anti-TNF) therapy and had at least 1 year of post anti-TNF initiation follow-up.”

Key findings:

  • Among 742 persons with CD, early anti-TNF initiators had fewer IBD-specific and overall hospitalizations over the 5 years following the start of therapy
  • Incidence of resective surgery was also lower in earlier anti-TNF initiators with CD if the first year following initiation was excluded from the analysis.
  • In 318 cases of UC, there was no impact of the timing of anti-TNF therapy on the rates of hospitalization and surgery.

My take: These two studies show that use of biologic therapy is associated with better outcomes in Crohn’s disease including fewer intestinal resections and fewer hospitalizations. It appears that earlier use may alter the natural history in part by reducing the likelihood of stricturing disease. Interestingly, the RISK study showed a reduction in penetrating disease with early use of biologics but not a reduction in stricturing disease (Related blog post: CCFA: Updates in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2017 (part 3))

CMV Colitis Rarely Identified

Q Buck et al. JPGN 2022; 75: 462-465. Routine Histology-Based Diagnosis of CMV Colitis Was Rare in Pediatric Patients

Key findings from this retrospective review (2011-2019):

  • Of 1801 cases of histologic colitis, 11 patients had CMV found by histology (mean age 15.4, 72.7% female), with an incidence of 0.6%
  • Nine out of these 11 (81.8%) patients were immunocompromised and 4 (36.4%) had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as an underlying diagnosis of whom 2 had new-onset ulcerative colitis
  • 5 of 6 post-transplant patients with CMV colitis had preexisting CMV viremia
  • An independent analysis of 54 consecutive IBD-associated colectomy cases at TCH showed no histologic evidence of CMV

The study finding that half of the cases of CMV in the IBD population were identified prior to treatment indicates that the underlying IBD may be a more important susceptibility factor than the immunosuppressive medications.

My take: This study indicates that CMV colitis remains important in the post-transplant population but is rarely consequential in the pediatric IBD population.

Related blog posts:

Little O’Malley Peak Trail, near Anchorage AK.
Denali is visible in background, even though it is ~180 miles away.

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.

Precision Dosing with Vedolizumab in Pediatrics

RJ Colman et al. AP&T 2022; https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.17277. Open access! Real world population pharmacokinetic study in children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease discovers novel blood and stool microbial predictors of vedolizumab clearance

“The study included data from 463 observed vedolizumab concentrations (59 peaks and 404 troughs) from 74 patients with IBD (52 with Crohn’s disease and 22 with ulcerative colitis or unclassified IBD, median age 16 years)…This study was part of the multicentre REFINE study, which aimed to investigate paediatric PK factors among different biological therapies. Both induction and maintenance doses were between 6 and 10 mg/kg for patients less than 30 kg and 300 mg for patients above 30 kg.”

Key findings:

  • “Using the new model in a simulation analysis of standard vedolizumab infusions (0, 2 and 6 weeks followed by every 8 weeks), we demonstrate that the expected cTrough at week 22 (infusion-5) in the majority of patients would result in drug exposure below current cTrough targets..The dosing simulations in our current study found that receiving standard dosing would lead to <20% of patients achieving a cTrough of 20 μg/ml at infusion-5.”
  • “The severity of hypoalbuminemia resulted in higher drug CL (lower cTrough) than the inflammatory burden (elevated ESR).”
  • Infusion-3 cTrough of at least 37 μg/ml and infusion-4 cTrough of at least 20 μg/ml best predicted SFCR (steroid-free clinical remission) at infusion-4. In contrast, we showed inadequate drug exposure during induction (AUCweek 14 of <134,580 μg h/ml) was associated with clinical non-response

My take: This study shows that therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is likely to be beneficial in improving outcomes in pediatric patients receiving vedolizumab. Low albumin in particular is associated with increased drug clearance. From this study, it looks like most pediatric patients will need dosing every 4 to 6 weeks to achieve good levels. The authors in their discussion reinforce the utility of TDM to “guide anti-TNF dose optimisations has been shown to improve durability and reduce both immunogenicity and loss of response.”

References:

13 Dubinsky MC, Mendiolaza ML, Phan BL, Moran HR, Tse SS, Mould DR. Dashboard-driven accelerated infliximab induction dosing increases infliximab durability and reduces immunogenicity. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2022; 28: 1375– 85.

51 Strik AS, Löwenberg M, Mould DR, Berends SE, Ponsioen CI, van den Brande JMH, et al. Efficacy of dashboard driven dosing of infliximab in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a randomized controlled trial. Scand J Gastroenterol 2021; 56: 145– 154.

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.

Rethinking the Link between NSAIDs and IBD Flares

This is the 4000th blog post for GutsandGrowth!

S Cohen-Meckelburg et al. American Journal of Gastroenterology 2022: doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000001932. The association between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and inflammatory bowel disease exacerbations: a true association or residual bias?

Background: NSAIDs are well-known to cause gastrointestinal injury. While single center studies have suggested that NSAIDs are associated with increased IBD flares, a systemic review of 18 studies found no consistent association between NSAIDs and IBD exacerbation.

This study included 15,705 (44.8%) and 19,326 (55.2%) IBD patients with and without an NSAID exposure.

Key findings:

  • Findings from a Cox proportional hazards model suggest an association between NSAIDs and IBD exacerbation (HR 1.24; 95%CI 1.16-1.33)
  • However, the likelihood of an IBD exacerbation in the NSAID exposed arm preceding NSAID exposure was similar (HR 1.30; 95%CI 1.21-1.39).
  • Those who received NSAIDs were already at increased risk of experiencing a disease flare. And the prior event rate ratio for IBD exacerbation, as determined by dividing the adjusted HR after NSAID exposure by the adjusted HR for pre-NSAID exposure, was 0.95 (95% CI, 0.89 – 1.01).
  • “A self-controlled case series analysis of 3,968 patients who had both an NSAID exposure and IBD exacerbation demonstrated similar exacerbation rates in the 1-year preceding exposure, 2-6 weeks post-exposure, and 6-weeks to 6-months post-exposure, but higher incidence 0-2 weeks post-exposure, suggesting potential confounding by reverse causality.” The self-controlled part of the study allowed patients to serve as their own controls which allowed adjustment for many factors that are difficult to control with retrospective studies.
  • 75% of patients with IBD who were prescribed an NSAID did not have an IBD exacerbation during a mean of 5.9 years of follow-up
  • NSAIDs were commonly used: 36.5% of patients with IBD had received at least one NSAID prescription
  • NSAIDs use was prescribed more frequently in patients with immune targeted therapy (likely a marker for moderate to severe disease)

Discussion points:

  • The estimated prior event ratio of 0.95 suggests that the risk of IBD flares in NSAID-exposed patients preceded the use of NSAIDs. The risk of IBD exacerbation did not increase in the 2 weeks to 6 months after NSAID exposure.
  • The overall association of increased IBD flare is likely related to reverse causation. Patients may take NSAIDs due to arthropathy or other symptoms that may be an early manifestation of a flare.

My take: This study challenges the prevailing view that NSAID use worsen inflammatory bowel disease; it is more likely that IBD exacerbations are due to underlying risk from more severe disease and residual confounding/reverse causality. The study provides reassurance that short-duration use is likely to be well-tolerated in most patients with IBD.

Medscape Gastroenterology (summary of this study): Reassuring Data on NSAIDs in IBD Flares

Mt Hood (picture from a friend)

SEAVUE: Head-to-Head Ustekimumab vs. Adalimumab

BE Sands et al.Lancet 2022; 399: 2200-2211. Ustekinumab versus adalimumab for induction and maintenance therapy in biologic-naive patients with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, phase 3b trial

Methods: This was  “a randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, active-comparator, phase 3b trial (SEAVUE) at 121 hospitals or private practices in 18 countries. We included biologic-naive patients aged 18 years or older with moderately to severely active Crohn’s…Eligible patients were randomly assigned (1:1; via an interactive web response system) to receive ustekinumab (approximately 6 mg/kg intravenously on day 0, then 90 mg subcutaneously once every 8 weeks) or adalimumab (160 mg on day 0, 80 mg at 2 weeks, then 40 mg once every 2 weeks, subcutaneously) through week 56. Study treatments were administered as monotherapy and without dose modifications.”

386 patients were enrolled.

Key findings:

  • 29 (15%) of 191 patients in the ustekinumab group and 46 (24%) of 195 in the adalimumab group discontinued study treatment before week 52
  • At week 52, 124 (65%) of 191 patients in the ustekinumab group versus 119 (61%) of 195 in the adalimumab group were in clinical remission (CDAI <150)
  • Endoscopic remission at week 52: ustekinumab 29% and for adalimumab 29%
  • Endoscopic response at week 52: ustekinumab 42%and for adalimumab 37%
  • Rapid onset of clinical response was seen with both therapies with improvement noted as early as week 2 assessment
  • Antidrug antibodies were less frequent with ustekinumab compared to adalimumab: 2% vs 74%.
  • Infections were reported in 65 (34%) of ustekinumab group compared to 79 (41%) of adalimumab group. Serious infections were reported in four (2%) of 191 patients in the ustekinumab group and five (3%) of 195 in the adalimumab group.
  • No deaths occurred through week 52 of the study.

My take:

  1. Both medications had a high similar response rate. Ustekinumab had fewer patients discontinue medication and lower immunogenicity which could improve efficacy/duration of response in an extended study.
  2. It is good to see a well-designed head-to-head study rather than a placebo-control arm. Placebo-based studies are hard to justify given the availability of multiple effective agents.

Near Denali, AK