What Happens When Infliximab is Stopped in Patients in Deep Remission Plus One

S Buhl et al. NEJM 2022; DOI:https://doi.org/10.1056/EVIDoa2200061. Discontinuation of Infliximab Therapy in Patients with Crohn’s Disease

Design: This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled withdrawal study of infliximab in patients (n=115) with Crohn’s disease who were in clinical, biochemical, and endoscopic remission after standard infliximab maintenance therapy for at least 1 year. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to continue infliximab therapy or to receive matching placebo for 48 weeks.

Key finding:

  • At the end of the trial at week 48, relapse-free survival was 100% in the infliximab-continuation group and 51% in the infliximab-discontinuation group

My take (borrowed from authors): Discontinuation of infliximab for patients with Crohn’s disease receiving long-term infliximab therapy and in clinical, biochemical, and endoscopic remission leads to a considerable risk of relapse

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Figure from NEJM Evidence Twitter Feed

S Sassine et al. AJG 2022; Volume 117 – Issue 4 – p 637-646. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001650. Risk Factors of Clinical Relapses in Pediatric Luminal Crohn’s Disease: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Key findings–The following variables were associated with clinical relapse:

  • female sex (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 1.52, P = 0.0007)
  • exposure to oral 5-ASA (aHR = 1.44, P = 0.04),
  • use of immunomodulatory agents compared with tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors (methotrexate aHR = 1.73, P = 0.003; thiopurines aHR = 1.63, P = 0.002)
  • presence of granulomas (aHR = 1.34, P = 0.02)
  • increased eosinophils on intestinal biopsies (aHR = 1.36, P = 0.02)
  • high levels of C-reactive protein (aHR = 1.01, P < 0.0001)
  • fecal calprotectin (aHR = 1.08, P < 0.0001)
  • low serum infliximab levels (<7 mcg/mL) (aHR = 2.32P = 0.001).

Head-to-Head (Sort of): Infliximab vs Ustekinumab for Crohn’s Disease

N Narula et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 1579-1587. Comparative Efficacy and Rapidity of Action for Infliximab vs Ustekinumab in Biologic Naïve Crohn’s Disease

Using a post hoc analysis of 2 large Crohn’s disease (CD) trial with 420 biologic-naive adult patients, the authors found the following Key Findings:

  • At week 6, a comparable number of patients achieved clinical remission with infliximab compared with patients treated with ustekinumab (44.9% vs 37.9%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.22)
  • At week 6 the clinical response rates were not significantly different (58.4% infliximab vs 54.9% ustekinumab; aOR, 1.25)
  • At week 6, 42.3% infliximab vs 34.7% ustekinumab had fecal calprotectin level less than 250 mcg/L in those with increased values at baseline

My take: A true head-to-head trial, rather than a post-hoc analysis, would more definitively determine relative efficacy and relative time to response. This study indicates that both agents have similar efficacy by week 6.

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Fountain at Forsyth Park in Savannah

Biologics in Children with Very Early Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease

B Kerur et al. JPGN 2022; 75: 64-69. Utilization of Antitumor Necrosis Factor Biologics in Very Early Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study From North America

In this retrospective study, 120 of 294 children with VEO-IBD (diagnosed 2008 and 2013, PRO-KIDS network) received anti-TNF therapy (96% infliximab). 101 of these 120 had adequate data recorded. It is noted that additional data on this cohort has been previously published (IBD Updates: Outcomes of VEO-IBD, PIANO Study Update, and Insurance-Disparity Relationship). Key findings:

  • Anti-TNF durability was 90% at 1 year, 75% at 3 years, and 55% at 5 years
  • Patients with Crohn’s disease had better durability than those with UC/IBD-U (Hazard ratio 0.17)
  • The most common reason for discontinuation of anti-TNF were loss of response in 24 (57%) children
  • 67 (66%) received combined therapy with an immunomodulator and this was associated with improved anti-TNF durability (Hazard ratio 0.30). However, authors note this was in era preceding widespread therapeutic drug monitoring.
  • The majority of children in the current study did not undergo testing for monogenic mutations

My take: Data for use of anti-TNF agents in this age group (< 6 yrs) has been limited. This study suggests similar effectiveness of anti-TNF agents in VEO-IBD compared to older groups. Given this groups increased risk for monogenic mutations, it is still a good idea, if feasible, to test for these disorders.

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IBD Shorts: Pediatric Cost Savings with Biosimilars and Multiple Biosimilar Switch Data

GA Morris et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 531-538. Increasing Biosimilar Utilization at a Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center and Associated Cost Savings: Show Me the Money

Key findings:

  • Biosimilar utilization initiation increased from a baseline of 1% in June 2019 to 96% by February 2021 among eligible patients; 20% of all patients (n-98) had insurance which preferred originator product
  • Estimated cost savings over the project duration were nearly $381,000 (average sales price) over the 20 month study

My take: The introduction of biosimilars have resulted in huge cost savings. In addition, for infliximab, the originator product price has also dropped substantially (more than 60% in some locations)

J Hanzel et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 495-501. Open Access: Multiple Switches From the Originator Infliximab to Biosimilars Is Effective and Safe in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Prospective Multicenter Cohort Study 

Methods: This was a prospective multicenter cohort study of adult IBD patients (n=176) who underwent 2 switches from the originator IFX to CT-P13 to SB2 (group 1), 1 switch from CT-P13 to SB2 (group 2), and 1 switch from the originator IFX to CT-P13 (group 3).

Key findings:

  • At 12 months after the most recent switch 76.9% (40 of 52, group 1), 65.7% (46 of 70, group 2) and 76.9% (20 of 26, group 3) of patients were in clinical remission. Treatment persistence at 12 months was 85.0%, 87.0%, and 70.1%, respectively.
  • There were no significant differences in the rate of clinical, CRP, FC remission, or treatment persistence at 12 months between the 3 groups.

My take: This study did not identify detrimental effects from multiple successive switching and switching between biosimilars of IFX. Longer followup and more clinical experience will be needed to confirm these findings.

Here’s Why Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Should Work

RC Ungaro et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 649-651. Impact of Thiopurine Exposure on Immunogenicity to Infliximab Is Negligible in the Setting of Elevated Infliximab Concentrations

Background: Whether proactive therapeutic drug monitoring (pTDM) is superior to reactive TDM (rTDM) is not entirely clear, though some studies have shown better outcomes with pTDM. Additionally, Colombel et al (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019; 17: 1525-32) showed that antidrug antibodies during combination therapy were detected only in those with the lowest quartile of infliximab trough levels; this suggests that optimized monotherapy should be similarly effective to combination therapy.

Methods: The authors retrospectively analyzed a commercial laboratory database (Prometheus) with 3970 patients and paired 6-thioguanine (6-TGN) levels with infliximab (IFX) and antibodies to infliximab (ATIs)

Key findings:

  • “Those with higher levels of IFX had negligible benefit from concomitant thiopurine treatment in preventing ATIs.”
  • ATIs were detected in 9.9% of all patients. IFX level of >5 mcg/mL were associated with a very low risk of ATI (OR 0.05). “Immunogenicity was negligible (<3%) in the presence of IFX concentrations greater than 5 mcg/mL.”
  • 6-TGN levels (>125) were associated with lower risk of ATI, OR 0.42; though, this effect had a significant impact, only for those with with IFX <5 mcg/mL.
  • The authors note the prospective OPTIMIZE study (NCT04835506) should help determine the effectiveness of pTDM.

My take: In patients with IFX levels >5 mcg/mL, there does not appear to be much benefit for most patients from the addition of a thiopurine; this may not be true for those who are switching to a 2nd anti-TNF agent due to antidrug antibodies. This study supports pTDM to assure adequate IFX levels.

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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

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

IBD Shorts: Ustekinumab in Kids, Subcutaenous Infliximab, Nutrition Highlights

MT Dolinger et al. J Crohns Colitis 2022.  doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjac055. Online ahead of print. Outcomes of Children With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Who Develop Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Induced Skin Reactions

In this retrospective study, among those who developed skin reactions to anti-TNF agents, 71 (64%) continued anti-TNF and 40 (36%) switched to ustekinumab (UST). Key findings:

  • Switching to UST had a higher rate and odds of resolution of skin findings (29/40 (73%) vs. 24/71 (34%); p <0.0001) and combined remission (21 (52%) vs. 22 (31%); p=0.03) vs. continuing anti-TNF at 6 months

PJ Smith et al. J Crohns Colitis, jjac053, https://doi.org/10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjac053 Open Access: Efficacy and Safety of Elective Switching From Intravenous to Subcutaneous Infliximab (Ct-P13): A Multi-Centre Cohort Study

Patients (n=181) on established maintenance IV infliximab who switched to SC CT-P13 were included in this retrospective multi-centre cohort study. Key findings:

  • Treatment persistence rate was high (N=167, 92.3%) and only 14 patients (7.7%) stopped treatment during the follow-up period. There were low rates of immunogenicity with no change in clinical disease activity indices or biomarkers

Link: Crohn’s and Colitis Congress 2022 Nutritional Highlights (Nutritional Therapy for IBD Website). This website has a summaries, and links to extensive information (videos/posters) from recent IBD meeting.

Sunrise in Sandy Springs (4/9/22) -no filter

Dietary Therapy for Adults with Crohn’s Disease

H Yanai et al. The Lancet 2021; The Crohn’s disease exclusion diet for induction and maintenance of remission in adults with mild-to-moderate Crohn’s disease (CDED-AD): an open-label, pilot, randomised trial https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(21)00299-5

In this open-label trial of adults with mild-to-moderate biologic naive Crohn’s disease, key findings:

  • At week 6, 13 (68%) of 19 patients in the CDED plus partial enteral nutrition group and 12 (57%) of 21 patients in the CDED group had achieved clinical remission (p=0·4618)
  • Among the 25 patients in remission at week 6, 20 (80%) were in sustained remission at week 24 (12 patients in the CDED plus partial enteral nutrition group and eight in the CDED alone group)
  • 14 (35%) of 40 patients were in endoscopic remission at week 24 (eight patients in the CDED plus partial enteral nutrition group and six in the CDED alone group)

My take: Dietary therapy may be effective option for motivated adult patients with Crohn’s disease.

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Expert Consensus: New Recommendations for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

AS Cheifetz et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116: 2014-2025. A Comprehensive Literature Review and Expert Consensus Statement on Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Biologics in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (published online August 13, 2021)

Key recommendations:

  • The panel agreed that reactive TDM should be used for all biologics for both primary nonresponse and secondary loss of response
  • It was recommended that treatment discontinuation should not be considered for infliximab or adalimumab until a drug concentration of at least 10–15 mg/mL was achieved
  • Consensus was also achieved regarding the utility of proactive TDM for anti–tumor necrosis factor therapy. It was recommended to perform proactive TDM after induction and at least once during maintenance.
  • More data are needed with regard to proactive TDM for biologics other than anti-TNF agents
  • There are no differences in interpreting TDM between originator biologics and biosimilars
  • When considering switching within drug class in case of secondary loss of response to a first anti-TNF drug because of the development of antidrug antibodies, an immunomodulator should be added to a subsequent anti-TNF therapy
  • Low-titer antidrug antibodies can be overcome by treatment optimization (dose escalation, dose interval shortening, and/or addition of an immunomodulator)

My take: This article should help support the practice of proactive TDM and discourage stopping anti-TNF agents until an adequate therapeutic level is achieved.

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.

Can Antibiotics Increase the Risk of Antidrug Antibodies to Infliximab?

A lot of research is looking at how alterations in the microbiome affect a plethora of medical outcomes. Recently, there was a study linking sugar consumption in adolescence with an increased risk of adenomas (full text link: Simple Sugar and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake During Adolescence and Risk of Colorectal Cancer Precursors; Gastroenterol 2021; 161: 128-142).

Now, a study indicates that taking oral antibiotics can influence the risk of developing antibodies to infliximab.

Full text (open access): Antibiotic use differentially affects the risk of anti-drug antibody formation during anti-TNFα therapy in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a report from the epi-IIRN (thanks to John Pohl for this reference)

Citation: Gorelik Y, Freilich S, Gerassy-Vainberg S, et al Antibiotic use differentially affects the risk of anti-drug antibody formation during anti-TNFα therapy in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a report from the epi-IIRNGut Published Online First: 03 August 2021. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2021-325185

This study reviewed data from 1946 patients with 363 who developed anti-drug antibodies (ADA). Then, specific pathogen and germ-free C57BL mice were treated with respective antibiotics and challenged with infliximab. ADA were assessed after 14 days.

Key findings:

  • Cox proportional hazard model demonstrated an increased risk of ADA development in patients who used cephalosporins (HR=1.97, 95% CI 1.58 to 2.44), or penicillins with β-lactamase inhibitors (penicillin-BLI, HR=1.4, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.74), whereas a reduced risk was noted in patients treated with macrolides (HR=0.38, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.86) or fluoroquinolones (HR=0.20, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.35).
  • In mice exposed to infliximab, significantly increased ADA production was observed in cephalosporin as compared with macrolide pretreated mice. Germ-free mice produced no ADA.

My take: The combination of retrospective data and mouse studies suggests that taking some antibiotics (mainly penicillins and cephalosporins) could increase the risk of immunogenicity to infliximab and increase the risk of anti-drug antibodies.

2021 AGA Guidelines For Crohn’s Disease

A series of articles details the 2021 AGA Guidelines for Crohn’s disease (CD) including a clinical practice guideline (pg 2496-2508), a clinical decision support tool (2509-2510), a spotlight summary (pg 2511), a technical review (2512-2557), and a review of the recommendations (pg 2557-2262). I will highlight the first article.

JD Feuerstein et al. Gastroenterol 2021; 160: 2496-2508. Full text: AGA Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Medical Management of Moderate to Severe Luminal and Perianal Fistulizing Crohn’s Disease

Full text: Spotlight

For me the most important of their recommendations was #7:

  • In adult outpatients with moderate to severe CD, the AGA suggests early introduction with a biologic with or without an immunomodulator rather than delaying their use until after failure of 5-aminosalicylates and/or corticosteroids.

Other points:

From Spotlight: