IBD Update Feb 2019

Briefly noted:

B Feagan et al. Systematic review: efficacy and safety of switching patients between reference and biosimilar infliximab. Alim Pharm Ther 2019 Jan;49(1):31-40. “While available data have not identified significant risks associated with a single switch between reference and biosimilar infliximab, the studies available currently report on only single switches and were mostly observational studies lacking control arms. Additional data are needed to explore potential switching risks in various populations and scenarios.”

MP Pauly et al. Incidence of Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation and Hepatotoxicity in Patients Receiving Long-term Treatment with Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonists. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1964-73. Using data from 8887 adults, this retrospective review found  “HBV reactivation iin 39% of patients who were HBsAg+ before therapy, but not in any patients who were HBsAg-negative and anti-HBc+ before therapy.”

D Lauritzen et al. Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Should We Be Looking for Kidney Abnormalities? Inflamm Bowel Dis 2018; 24: 2599-2605. In a cross-sectional cohort of 56 children with IBD, the authors found 25% “had either previously reported kidney disease or ultrasonographic signs of chronic kidney disease.” The authors note that plasma cystatin C is a useful biomarker for glomerular filtration as it less dependent on nutritional status; it is increased in the setteing of a decline in GFR.

L Pouillon et al. Mucosal Healing and Long-term Outcomes of Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Receiving Clinic-Based vs Trouhg Concentration-Based Dosing of Infliximab. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1276-83.  This retrospective study with patients who completed TAXIT maintenance phase found that patients who received trough-based infliximab dosing had a lower discontinuation rate of infliximab compared with clinic-based dosing (2 of 21 [10%]  vs. 10 of 27 [37%]).  However, both groups had >75% of patients able to continue infliximab for more than 3 years after the trial.

N Ouldali et al. Early Arthritis Is Associated With Failure of Immunosuppressive Drugs and Severe Pediatric Crohn’s Disease Evolution. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2018; 24: 2423-30. In this retrospective study with 272 patients with Crohn’s disease, 23.9% (n=65) developed arthritis and this was associated with failure of immunosuppressive drugs with OR of 6.9 after 2 years. In this study, immunosuppressive drugs refers to thiopurines and methotrexate.  By the completion of study, a much greater proportion of those with arthritis required biologic treatment (76% vs 32%, OR 4.3)

Sex-Based Differences in Incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Briefly noted: SC Shah, H Khalili et al. Gastroenterol 2018; 155: 1079-89.

This study evaluated pooled data with 207,600 incident cases of IBD from a population of 478 million. Key findings:

  • Female patients had lower a lower risk of Crohn’s disease during childhood until 10-14 years of age, but then a risk afterwards
  • For ulcerative colitis, there was a divergence in risk after 45 years of age, when men had a significantly higher incidence.

My take: the differences indicate that genetic factors (men with a Y chromosome and only one chromosome X) along with sex hormones play a role in the pathogenesis of IBD.

Graphs depict Female/Male Incidence Rate Ratio

AGREE proceedings: Briefly noted: ES Dellon, CA Liacouras, J Molina-Infante, GT Furuta et al. Gastroenterology 2018; 155: 1022-33.  This report provides updated recommendations from AGREE conference –which have been widely cited previously on this blog and elsewhere.  One of the remarkable features on this report is the fact that there are 64 authors (by my count) –thus reading the affiliations and the conflict of interest disclosures alone would take some time.

For a good review on this topic:

Do Biologics Alter the Natural History of Crohn’s Disease in Children?

An important recent study (B Kerur et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1467-73 & editorial C Ballengee S Kugasthasan 1398-1400) examined the impact of biologic therapies on Crohn’s disease progression and need for surgery in 1442 children (age, ≤16 y) between 2002-14. This study examined data from the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Collaborative Research Group registry.

Key findings:

  • Early use of biologics (n=145) was associated with slowing of disease progression (hazard ratio 0.85, CI 0.76-0.95).  Those who received anti-TNF therapy within three months of diagnosis were less likely to develop stricturing (B2) or penetrating (B3) disease.
  • Early anti-TNF therapy did not effect progression to surgery. Surgery rates were 4% at 1 year, 13% at 5 years, and 26% at 10 years.
  • Of those who needed surgery, ~15% already had their first bowel-related surgery in the first 90 days after diagnosis.
  • The study cohort at diagnosis included only 51 with B2 disease, 27 with B3, and 11 with both B2 & B3.  Thus, these three disease phenotypes represented ~6% of the entire cohort.

In the editorial, the authors state that this study “is a sobering reminder that we apparently have not changed the long-term course of CD for our pediatric patients.”  Though, at the same time, they explain how this study had some limitations which could have affected some of the conclusions.

  • In contrast to the RISK study, this study classified patients as B1 who progressed to B2 or B3 in the first 3 months of diagnosis.  Including these patients decreased the chance to show improvement with early biologic therapy.
  • Also, this cohort included a lower percentage of African American patients compared to the RISK study (8% vs 13%).  This also lowered the likelihood of identifying improvement;  these patients are more likely to develop penetrating disease which can be prevented with early biologic therapy (RISK study: Kugasthasan S et al. Lancet 2017; 389: 1710-8).

Also, one other finding of the study was that there was a paradoxical increase in the risk of surgery in the first 5 years in the early biologic group. “This suggests that our practicing pediatric gastroenterologists may have selected the sicker patients to start biologics.”

My take: I think biologics do influence the natural history of Crohn’s disease in children.  However, this study suggests that the magnitude of that alteration is suboptimal.

Related blog post: CCFA update 2017 -RISK study presentation

Bone Health, Especially for IBD and Short Gut

Several colleagues with birthdays this week and next–Happy Birthday!

At our ICN population management meeting (as well as at a recent nutrition colloquium), Dr. Karen Loechner provided a timely update on bone health for our group.  Some of her slides are pictured below and a link to full slides follows.

Some of the points that I found interesting:

  • New hologic scans are much quicker (as little as 15 secs for some images) than typical DXA scans
  • While sodas have been associated with weaker bones, the main mechanism is likely displacement of milk from diet rather than direct effects
  • Adjust DXA results for height age
  • Think about vertebral compression fractures in children with mobility problems and painful symptoms



Full Link: Sticks and Stones Pediatric Osteoporosis


ADMIRE Study: Use of Stem Cell Therapy for Complex Perianal Fistulas in Crohn’s Disease

A recent phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (J Panes et al. Gastroenterol 2018; 154: 1334-42) examined the use of stem cell therapy for the treatment of complex perianal fistulas in Crohn’s disease (CD).

They used a single local injection of 120 million Cx601, a suspension of allogeneic expanded adipose-derived stem cells, and compared to a placebo injection.  This study comprised 212 patients from 49 centers. The primary endpoint, labelled “combined remission,” was based on absence of draining fistulas and MRI findings.

Key Findings:

  • As noted in Figure 1 (below), combined remission occurred in 51.5% of Cx601-Rx patients compared with 35.6% for placebo at week 24; at week 52, combined remission occurred in 56.3% of Cx601-Rx patients compared with 38.6%

My take: This local therapy improved outcomes for 1 year after a single injection and appears promising for refractory perianal fistulas.  It may help avoid surgery or systemic immunosuppression.


Closer Look at Data Then Image Below

“A Guide to Gutsy Living”

A recent article ( David JG, Jofriet A, Seid M, et al. “A Guide to Gutsy Living”: Patient-Driven Development of a Pediatric Ostomy Toolkit. Pediatrics. 2018;141(5): e20172789) describes “A Guide to Gutsy Living”: Patient-Driven Development of a Pediatric Ostomy Toolkit (Full Text)

From ImproveCareNow: Download a free copy of the Ostomy Toolkit


The education we received about our ostomy surgery was brief and focused only on basic skills regarding caring for an ostomy, including changing and emptying the bag, but did not address concerns we had about living with ostomies as part of our everyday lives. This educational void placed the burden on us as patients to find resources on our own, decide if the information was appropriate, and determine if it was reliable and accurate.

In this article, we describe how we, as patients, harnessed the capacity of a collaborative chronic care network1 and were supported to develop a resource that patients needed.


We started a national task force of interested patients and parents who had experiences with ostomies to develop a pediatric ostomy toolkit. The task force was composed entirely of patients and parents and consisted of 7 patients and parents

After a literature review, we asked task force members to identify questions and topics related to living with an ostomy, including questions members had preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and in the extended time since their surgeries. From this prompt, our group generated a list of topics all patients and parents agreed on based on the shared concerns, insights, or questions our task force members had around ostomy surgery… After the creation of the toolkit, we reached out to clinicians to provide clinical review.


Our final 19-page, colorful toolkit included topics relating to friends, school, travel, ostomy supplies, clothing, playing sports, using humor to cope, emergency kits, educational issues (eg, 504 plans), “Gastronauts” (Gastronauts are freely available puppets with ostomies), and ostomy medical language…The pediatric ostomy toolkit was posted on the ICN Exchange platform

My take (borrowed from authors): In our patient- and parent-led toolkit project, we demonstrate how patients and families can self-organize and ask clinicians to consult to create needed resources within a network


  • The Oley Foundation website is a good link for patients with enteral tubes, ostomies, and central lines. http://oley.org/
  • From ImproveCareNow: Download a free copy of the Ostomy Toolkit

View from Pine Mountain


Opiates, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Mortality

A recent retrospective study (NE Burr et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 534-41) with 3517 patient’s with Crohn’s disease (CD) and 5349 with ulcerative colitis (UC) examined the frequency of opioid prescriptions and the relationship to fatal outcomes.

Key findings:

  • Compared to 1990-93, the period of 2010-13 saw a sharp rise in the use of opiods in England: 10% compared to 30%.
  • Prescription of strong opioids (>3 prescriptions per calendar year) was associated with premature mortality: Hazard ratio 2.18 for CD and 3.3 for UC.

This study is in agreement with other data showing increasing use of opiate prescriptions worldwide for chronic noncancer pain (although there has been a drop in the past year).  As with other studies of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, this study shows an association between opioid use and mortality.

My take: Needing an opioid may be a marker for more severe disease. Whether the opioid use directly contributes to mortality remains unclear.