Expert Guidance on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Part 2)

A recent issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology focused solely on the clinical features and management of inflammatory bowel disease. Even for those with expertise in IBD, there is a lot of useful information and concise reviews of what is known.

Here are some of my notes from this issue (part 2)

S Danese et al. Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol: 2020; 18: 1280-90. Positioning Therapies in Ulcerative Colitis

This is a good article but recent AGA publications are probably better –there are some links below. One statement that was interesting: “the safety profile of vedolizumab seems even better than placebo in terms of risk of serious” adverse events. The authors favored infliximab in combination with azathioprine in those needing biologic therapy with moderate-severe UC.

Related blog posts:

S Vermeire et al. Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol: 2020; 18: 1291-9. How, When, and for Whom Should We Perform Therapeutic Drug Monitoring?

“Although reactive TDM, testing at time of loss of response, is widely accepted in practice, especially for anti–tumor necrosis factor antibodies, there are less data for the other monoclonal antibodies belonging to other classes. Besides reactive testing, there is a movement toward proactively adjusting biologic dosing to prevent loss of response, in keeping with the tight control philosophy of inflammatory bowel disease care.” The authors favor proactive monitoring: “we are now beginning to see with well-powered proactive TDM studies” that proactive monitoring can maximize the benefits of TDM with “the potential to maximize durability of biologics and improve the outcomes of IBD patients.”

Related blog posts:

PS Dulai et al. Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol: 2020; 18: 1300-8. How Do We Treat Inflammatory Bowel Diseases to Aim For Endoscopic Remission?

The initial part of this article reviews treatment targets -resolution of symptoms and resolution of endoscopic damage. The algorithm provides the authors’ suggested approach:

  • At initiation of therapy, patients should have a full assessment.  In addition to ileocolonoscopy, for patients with CD, the authors recommend cross-sectional imaging.
  • After treatment initiation, the authors recommend biomarker assessment every 3 months.  Mucosal assessment can occur 6-9 months after treatment initiation.
  • For UC, the authors note that fecal calprotectin (FC) “appears to be more stratightforward, and a cutoff of 250 mcg/g can be used reliably across all scenarios to make treatment adjustments.”  Though, they recommend endoscopic confirmation prior to transition to a biologic or small molecule therapy.
  • For CD, the authors suggest making treatment adjustments in those with FC >250 mcg/g and in those with lower values, followup colonoscopy is recommended.
  • The authors note that in the post-operative setting with CD, mucosal inflammation precedes symptomatic activity and “waiting for symptoms to emerge may unnecessary allow for disease progression.”
  • The authors suggest that tighter disease control will reduce disease-related complications, while acknowledging a lack of prospective clinical trials.
  • One thorny issue: :”For CD: it remains unclear what degree of residual mucosal healing is acceptable to impact important outcomes such as CD-related complications, hospitalizations, and surgeries.”

Related blog posts:

M Allocca et al. Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol: 2020; 18: 1309-23. Use of Cross-Sectional Imaging for Tight Monitoring of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

“Computed tomography is limited by the use of radiation, while the use of magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) is limited by its cost and access. There is growing interest in bowel ultrasound that represents a cost-effective, noninvasive, and well-tolerated modality in clinical practice, but it is operator dependent… Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is a MR imaging technique that increasingly is used in both IBD and non-IBD conditions and has been shown to be a valuable and accurate tool for assessing and monitoring IBD activity.

L Beaugerie et al. Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol: 2020; 18: 1324-35. Predicting, Preventing, and Managing Treatment-Related Complications in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

The first part of this article reviews potential adverse effects from the medications used for IBD treatment, noting in Table 1 that there are not complications to monitor for with both vedolizumab and ustekinumab.

The article reviews infections, vaccination strategies and issues related to malignancy Some of the recommendations:

  • vaccine against pneumococcus should be given before patients begin immunosuppressive therapy
  • physicians should consider giving patients live vaccines against herpes zoster (in adults) before they begin immunosuppressive therapy or a recombinant vaccine, when available, at any time point during treatment
  • sun protection and skin surveillance from the time of diagnosis are recommended
  • despite concerns about therapy, the authors note that “the extensive use of immunosuppressive therapy leads to a substantial decrease in the incidence of IBD complications, with a globally favorable benefit-risk ratio, which can be optimized further thanks to a good degree of awareness and knowledge of drug complications.”

It is interesting that this article (and the entire issue) does not address mental health concerns related to the diagnosis of IBD.  This likely creates more morbidity and complications than most of the other issues that are discussed.

Above: Why did the picture go to jail? Because it was framed.

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 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.

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.

Combination Therapy Study Points to Central Role of Adequate Drug Levels

A recent study (JF Colombel et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019; 17: 1525-32) examines the effect of combination therapy and drug levels in achieving corticosteroid-free remission at week 26 (CSFR26).

The authors performed a post hoc analysis from 206 patients with Crohn’s disease (CD): 97 monotherapy with infliximab & 109 with combination infliximab/azathioprine

Key findings:

  • The proportions of patients achieving CSFR26 were not significantly greater among those receiving combination therapy vs monotherapy within the same serum infliximab concentrations
  • Mean trough infliximab concentrations in the combination therapy were higher than for monotherapy: 3.54 mcg/mL vs. 1.55 mcg/mL
  • Higher levels of antidrug antibodies were seen with monotherapy: 35.9% vs 8.3% of those with combination therapy.  Antidrug antibodies were detected only in those with lowest quartile of infliximab trough levels.

My take: This study indicates that combination therapy’s higher efficacy is due to  favorable pharmacokinetics rather than drug synergy.  If good infliximab trough levels can be achieved with infliximab monotherapy, this may obviate the need for combination therapy.  The uncertain factor is whether closer attention to trough levels will minimize the development of antidrug antibodies as effectively as the use of combination therapy.

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.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

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)

Vedolizumab Drug Levels –Are They Needed?

A recent retrospective study (E Dreesen et al Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1937-46) with 179 consecutive patients (66 with ulcerative colitis, and 113 with Crohn’s disease) found that vedolizumab (VDZ) trough concentrations were correlated with response.

Key findings:

  • VDZ trough >30 mcg/mL at week 2, >24 mcg/mL at week 6, and >14 mcg/mL during maintenance were associated with effectiveness endpoints including endoscopic healing, physician global assessment and biochemical response (based on CRP).
  • Median VDZ trough levels during induction were 27.7 mcg/mL at week 2, 27.4 mcg/mL at week 6. With standard dosing, the maintenance VDZ trough was 13.5 mcg/mL at week 14
  • Higher BMI and more severe disease, based on CRP, albumin, and/or hemoglobin, were associated with lower VDZ trough levels and lower probability of mucosal healing (P<.05).

Interestingly, in the discussion the authors note that VDZ troughs above  3 mcg/mL completely saturate α4β7 intergrin.  This physiologic phenomenon is hard to reconcile with data showing better response with higher VDZ levels.  The authors note that “at present, there are not enough data in our study to support the role for TDM to guide clinical decision-making on dose escalation for vedolizumab.”

My take: This study implies that VDZ levels may help predict response but are not necessarily helpful in determining whether dose escalation is warranted.

Related blog posts:

Riverwalk, Chattanooga

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring for Vedolizumab

A recent observational study (N Williet et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 1750-7) provides some important information about where we are heading with regard to therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) with vedolizumab (VDZ).

This study enrolled 47 consecutive patients with either Crohn’s disease (CD, n=31) or ulcerative colitis (UC, n=16). In those without a clinical response at week 6, an additional dose of 300 mg of VDZ was administered at week 10.

Key findings:

  • VDZ levels were higher in responders than in nonresponders, which is in agreement with previous studies ( (NEJM 2013; 369: 711-21, NEJM 2013; 369: 699-710)
  • A low therapeutic drug level as early as week 2 (<24.5 mcg/mL) and at the end of induction (week 6) (<18.5 mcg/mL) was associated with the need for drug optimization within 6 months in all patients
  • All patients with a level <19.0 mcg/mL at week 6, regained a secondary response after optimization at week 10.
  • The authors note that in the GEMINI trial, anti-VDZ antibodies were detected in 56 of 1434 patients (3.7%).  In this cohort, no anti-VDZ were detected using the same methods.

My take: Low trough levels of VDZ at week 6 are associated with the need for drug optimization/increased dosing.

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring: Ustekinumab (Stelara)

The ability to measure drug levels has changed how we think about refractory medical disease, particularly in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.  Prior to the availability of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), in some situations poor response to therapy could be ascribed to variability in host immune response. Now, it is clear that many cases of refractory medical disease are due to insufficient drug level.  TDM allows for dose individualization to target the right amount of medication.

TDM has an accepted role in anti-TNF therapy.  Now, a study (R Battat et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 1427-34) extends the concept of TDM to ustekinumab.  This study which took place between 2014-2015 examined ustekinumab use in 62 patients with refractory Crohn’s disease (CD).  Ustekinumab dosing: 90 mg SC at weeks 0, 1, and 2 for induction, then 90 mg every 4 or 8 weeks for maintenance.

Key findings:

  • At week 26, 80.7% of patients had a clinical response, 66.1% had a clinical remission, and 58.9% had an endoscopic response.
  • In those with an endoscopic response, the mean trough concentration of ustekinumab was 4.7 mcg/mL compared with 3.8 mcg/mL those without an endoscopic response.
  • Using a trough threshold of 4.5 mcg/mL at week ≥26, 75.9% had an endoscopic response whereas those with a level below this trough had a 40.7% endoscopic response
  • The authors did not detect antibodies to ustekinumab in any patient. The authors note that ustekinumab has low immunogenicity and prior UNITI studies indicated antibody formation in 0.2% after induction and 2.3% at 1 year.
  • Unlike combination therapy with anti-TNF therapy, “concurrent immunosuppressive therapy does not explain low immunogenicity, as only 25.8% of patients received these and had neither improved clinical outcomes nor higher drug concentrations.”

Thus far, no clinical studies have demonstrated improved clinical outcomes with dose escalation in the setting of low ustekinumab levels.  A prospective trial would be helpful.

My take: This study shows promising results for ustekinumab for refractory CD.  The low immunogenicity indicates that monotherapy is likely appropriate.  A target level of >4.5 mcg/mL indicates a higher likelihood of response.

Related blog posts:

#NASPGHAN17 Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Associated with Increased Clinical Remission

In support of Dr. Baldassano’s talk (NASPGHAN17: Treat to Target and Tight Control), this poster from the Cincinnati group (A Mulgand et al) showed that therapeutic drug monitoring has been associated with improved clinical remission scores (80% to 87%).  Correlation with a more objective marker of remission along with longer followup is now needed. One of the authors, Dana Dykes, has joined our group in Atlanta!

 

Related blog posts:

NASPGHAN Postgraduate Course 2017 (Part 4): Therapeutic drug monitoring, Anti-TNF management, Postoperative Crohn’s disease

This blog entry has abbreviated/summarized these presentations. Though not intentional, some important material is likely to have been omitted; in addition, transcription errors are possible as well.

Here is a link to postgraduate course syllabus: NASPGHAN PG Syllabus – 2017

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Andrew Grossman  Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

The topic of therapeutic drug monitoring, both reactive and proactive, has been discussed numerous times on this blog.  This talk provided a good review of this topic.

Key points:

  • Greatest predictor of infliximab treatment failure was a low infliximab (<0.9 mcg/mL at anytime or <2.2 mcg/mL at 14 weeks) (Castelle et al Am J Gastro 2013; 108: 962-71)
  • Low level antibodies to infliximab may be transient in ~28% and may be overcome with escalation of therapy
  • Tissue levels of infliximab (and other agents) may be inadequate despite good serum levels

What if anti-TNF fails

Maria Oliva-Hemker   Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Key points:

  • Discussed prevalence of problem with anti-TNF failures and main options: vedolizumab, ustekinumab, and surgery
  • Vedolizumab can take a while to work, particularly for Crohn’s disease
  • Limited data in pediatrics for these newer agents
  • Ustekinumab has some preliminary data indicating benefit with anti-TNF induced psoriaform rashes
  • Newer agents also likely to need therapeutic drug monitoring
  • Overall, ustekinumab and vedolizumab have good safety profiles at this point

 

Prevention of postoperative Crohn’s disease

Miguel Regueiro   University of Pittsburgh

  • Rationale for postoperative preventative treatment: high rate of recurrent disease which can be silent for several years despite progressive damage to GI tract
  • Large study (PREVENT) to compare infliximab and placebo after surgery.  Primary endpoint was clinical recurrence (was endpoint demanded by FDA) even though clinical recurrence can be a late finding.  Endoscopic recurrence rate was a secondary endpoint.

Dr. Regueiro’s approach

  • Low risk patient –repeat scope at 6 months post-op, then every 1-3 yrs if no disease and Rx with anti-TNF or immunomodulator in those with endoscopic recurrence
  • Moderate risk patient -possible use of thiopurine or use the ‘low risk’ approach
  • High risk patient-combination therapy and if doing well for several years, consider monotherapy
  • In pediatrics, the postoperative management is unclear due to difficulty with risk stratification.  If postoperative treatment is not given, consider colonoscopy 3-4 months afterwards and treat if recurrence.  Then could use calprotectin every 3 months to monitor and when >50, likely will need to be treated

PREVENT Trial Data: