IBD Updates: SC Vedolizumab, PRODUCE study: Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Racial Epidemiology of IBD, and Microbiome in UC

Briefly noted –all of these articles are open access:

A Volkers et al. AP&T 2022; https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.17153 Open access: Real-world experience of switching from intravenous to subcutaneous vedolizumab maintenance treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. In this prospective cohort study, patients (n=135) with IBD who had ≥4 months IV vedolizumab were switched to SC vedolizumab. 

Key findings:

  • 4 patients with Crohn’s disease had loss of response.
  • 9% of patients were switched back to IV vedolizumab due to adverse events or fear of needles.
  • Median clinical and biochemical disease activity remained stable after the switch. Median vedolizumab serum concentrations increased from 19 μg/ml at the time of the switch to 31 μg/ml 12 weeks after the switch (p < 0.005).

Related blog posts:

HC Kaplan et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2022 Jun 1;117(6):902-917. Open access: Personalized Research on Diet in Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease: A Series of N-of-1 Diet Trials. In this study, 21 patients (completed trial) were randomized to 1 of 2 sequences of 4 alternating 8-week SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) and MSCD (modified specific carbohydrate diet) periods.

Key findings: “SCD and MSCD did not consistently improve symptoms or inflammation.” “Some individuals had improvement in symptoms and fecal calprotectin compared with their UD, whereas others did not.” The authors note that it took 18 months to recruit 54 patients for this study across 19 research sites.

Related blog posts:

EL Barnes et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 983-987. Open access: Racial and Ethnic Distribution of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the United States The authors electronic health records from 337 centers from January 2013 to December 2018 with nearly 40 million patients in U.S.

Key findings:

  • Black adult patients were significantly less likely than White patients to have a diagnosis of CD (odds ratio [OR], 0.53) or UC (OR, 0.41). Pediatric Black patients were also less likely to have a diagnosis of CD (OR, 0.41) or UC (OR, 0.38)
  • Adult Hispanic patients were less likely to have a diagnosis of CD (OR, 0.33) or UC (OR, 0.45) compared with non-Hispanic patients. Similarly, pediatric Hispanic patients were less likely to have a diagnosis of CD (OR, 0.34) or UC (OR, 0.50).
  • Thus, these data suggest that CD and UC are modestly less prevalent among patients of non-White races and Hispanic ethnicity

M Frioirksmork et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1081-1089. Open access: Similar Gut Bacterial Composition Between Patients With Ulcerative Colitis and Healthy Controls in a High Incidence Population: A Cross-sectional Study of the Faroe Islands IBD Cohort. This cross-sectional study from the Faroe Islands (which has very high incidence of IBD) consisted of 41 patients with established ulcerative colitis and 144 age- and sex-matched healthy controls.

Key findings: There was a similarity in bacterial community composition and absence of the beneficial Akkermansia genus in both groups.

Pipeline Medications for Ulcerative Colitis (Part 1) & Face Mask Shortages

Before getting to today’s post, I wanted to provide a link on why we are desperately short of face masks in the midst of this crisis: NY Times: How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask

An excerpt:

The answer to why we’re running out of protective gear involves a very American set of capitalist pathologies — the rise and inevitable lure of low-cost overseas manufacturing, and a strategic failure, at the national level and in the health care industry, to consider seriously the cascading vulnerabilities that flowed from the incentives to reduce costs…

Given the vast global need for masks — in the United States alone, fighting the coronavirus will consume 3.5 billion face masks, according to an estimate by the Department of Health and Human Services — corporate generosity will fall short. People in the mask business say it will take a few months, at a minimum, to significantly expand production…

Hospitals began to run out of masks for the same reason that supermarkets ran out of toilet paper — because their “just-in-time” supply chains, which call for holding as little inventory as possible to meet demand, are built to optimize efficiency, not resiliency.

My take: Conserve, conserve, conserve PPE -supply chains meeting the need is NOT imminent.


Several articles from Gastroenterology highlight emerging medications for ulcerative colitis (UC).

Two of the studies:

  • WJ Sandborn et al. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 550-61.
  • WJ Sandborn et al. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 562-72.

The first study was a phase 2 randomized trial of etrasimod which is an oral selective sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator.  A total of 156 patients were randomized into 3 groups: placebo, 1 mg etrasimod, and 2 mg etrasimod.

Key findings (graphical abstract):

In the second phase 3, double-blind, double-dummy study, Sandborn et al show that, after the initial 2 intravenous doses,  among patients with an initial response subcutaneous vedolizumab (108 mg every 2 weeks) had similar effectiveness to intravenous vedolizumab (300 mg every 8 weeks); both SC and IV vedolizumab resulted in higher clinical remission rates compared to placebo at 52 weeks in the 216 patients: 46.2%, 42.6%, and 14.3% respectively.

Full text link: Efficacy and Safety of Vedolizumab Subcutaneous Formulation in a Randomized Trial of Patients With Ulcerative Colitis

Methotrexate Abstract: Subcutaneous vs. Oral Administration

A recent abstract (Link: Gut doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2014-307964) indicates that there may be some advantages with subcutaneous methotrexate compared with oral administration, especially at the onset of treatment.

Here’s the abstract (thanks to KT Park for sharing this abstract on his twitter feed):

Efficacy of oral methotrexate in paediatric Crohn’s disease: a multicentre propensity score study

Background Oral methotrexate (MTX) administration avoids weekly injections, reduces costs and may improve quality of life of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD), especially children. Routes of administration have never been systematically compared in CD. We aimed to compare effectiveness and safety of orally (PO) versus subcutaneously (SC) administered MTX in paediatric CD.

Methods 226 children with CD treated with oral or subcutaneous MTX were included in a multicentre, retrospective 1-year cohort study (62% boys, mean age 13.8±2.8 years, 88% previous thiopurines). 38 (17%) were initially commenced on oral, 98 (43%) started subcutaneous and switched to oral and 90 (40%) were treated with subcutaneous only. Matching and ‘doubly robust’ weighted regression models were based on the propensity score method, controlling for confounding-by-indication bias. 11/23 pretreatment variables were different between the groups, but the propensity score modelling successfully balanced the treatment groups.

Results 76 children (34%) had sustained steroid-free remission with a difference that did not reach significance between the PO and the SC groups (weighted OR=1.72 (95% CI 0.5 to 5.9); p=0.52). There were no differences in need for treatment escalation (p=0.24), elevated liver enzymes (p=0.59) or nausea (p=0.85). Height velocity was lower in the PO group (p=0.006) and time to remission was delayed in the PO group (p=0.036; Fleming (0, 1) test).

Conclusions In this largest paediatric CD cohort to date, SC administered MTX was superior to PO, but only in some of the outcomes and with a modest effect size. Therefore, it may be reasonable to consider switching children in complete remission treated with subcutaneous MTX to the oral route with close monitoring of inflammatory markers and growth.

Related blog posts: