Pipeline Medications for Ulcerative Colitis (Part 2)

To continue with topic of new medications for ulcerative colitis started yesterday -two more articles:

  • WJ Sandborn et al. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 537-49
  • S Danese. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 467-70 (commentary)

The first reference describes a randomized phase 2 study of mirikizumab with 249 patients.  Mirikizumab is a monoclonal antibody to the p19 subunit of IL23. A similar agent, ustekinumab is a monoclonal antibody directed at the p40 subunit of IL23 and IL12; thus mirikuzumab is more selective targeting of IL23. the authors examined response to the study drug at 3 doses: 50 mg, 200 mg, and 600 mg and compared to intravenous placebo.  All patients received dosing at weeks 0, 4, and 8. A subset of patients continued with subcutaneous treatment starting at week 12, with 47 receiving 200 mg every 4 weeks and 46 receiving 200 mg every 12 weeks. 63% of patients in this trial had previous exposure to biologics.

Key findings:

  • At week 12, 15.9% (50 mg), 22.6% (200 mg), and 11.5 % (600 mg) in the treatment groups achieved clinical remission compared to 4.8% of the placebo group
  • Clinical responses occurred in 41.3%, 59.7%, and 49.2% in the respective treatment groups compared to 20.6% in placebo group
  • At week 52, clinical remission was achieved in 46.8% of SC every 4 weeks and 37.0% every 12 weeks.

In the commentary, Danese reviews the pipeline of new drugs emerging for ulcerative colitis.  Full Text Link: New Drugs in the Ulcerative Colitis Pipeline: Prometheus Unbound

A couple of key points:

  • “Like Prometheus, who gave fire to humans and paid with the price of eternal torment, so the gift of new drugs in ulcerative colitis brings the consequence of patients with heterogeneous disease being cycled indiscriminately through similarly modestly effective agents.”
  • “Predictive biomarkers are needed” to optimize treatment and avoid ineffective and potentially harmful treatments

My take: The emergence of new treatments is welcome given the frequent loss of response or lack of response to current therapies.  Two questions: How will we decide which agent(s) is the best one to use? When will pediatric studies be available?

 

 

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

Working Together to Improve Outcomes for Children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Recently, we had an “ImproveCareNow Population Management” meeting.  At these regular meetings, we typically review at least one topic of interest, review data on how patients are doing (eg. hospitalizations, clinical remission, surgeries, followup visits), and discuss patients who have challenging clinical problems.  Credit for making these meetings work go to Clair Talmadge, PA-C, Samantha Gomez (ICN coordinator), and Chelly Dykes (physician leader).  Also, with regards to depression screening, we are fortunate to have the support of Bonney Reed-Knight and Jessica Buzenski.

At the latest meeting, we discussed our recent implementation of depression screening, expanded definitions of clinical remission/sustained clinical remission, and family support projects.

With regard to depression screening, we are finding that ~30% had actionable screens indicating some level of depression and ~4% screened as suicidal (requiring urgent attention).

My take: Each of these meetings and the work that goes into them make tangible improvements in outcomes.

Some of the slides are shown below.

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.

IBD and Immune-Mediated Diseases

J Burisch et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019; 17: 2704-12.  In this nationwide cohort from Denmark with 14,377 adult patients with IBD (median age 45.8 yrs) and 71,885 controls; immune-mediated diseases (IMID) were present in 22.5% of those with IBD.

Most common IMID:

  • psoriasis
  • asthma
  • type 1 diabetes
  • iridocyclitis

Other IMID:

  • multiple sclerosis
  • pyoderma gangrenosum
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • ankylosing spondylitis,
  • celiac
  • primary scelorsing cholangitis,
  • primary biliary cholangitis
  • sarcoidosis
  • Graves’ disease

Findings:

  • Patients receiving infliximab were at a reduced risk of developing an IMID with aOR of 0.52 for Crohn’s disease (CD) and 0.47 for Ulcerative Colitis. (UC)
  • 80.3% of IMID were noted prior to onset of IBD
  • The presence of IMID was associated with an increased risk of surgery in patients with CD with aOR of 2.30 but not in patients with UC

My take: About 1 in 4 patients with IBD have at least 1 other immune-mediated disease.  The presence of an immune-mediated disease is associated with a higher likelihood of needing a biologic therapy and with surgery in patients with Crohn’s disease. In patients with numerous immune-mediated diseases, one needs to consider the possibility of other etiologies (eg. CTLA4 defiency)

Related blog posts:

Saint Jerome (not far from Montreal)

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

Development of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis in Pediatric Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

A recent study (A Chandrakumar et al. J Pediatr 2019; 215: 144-51) followed 190 children with inflammatory bowel disease from 2011 to 2018 in a longitudinal population-based cohort in Manitoba and examined the development of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).  The diagnosis of PSC was made on discretion of the treating physician; thus, only a subset of patients underwent extensive evaluations for PSC.

Key findings:

  • 9 developed PSC-UC (9/95) and overall 11 developed PSC-IBD (11/190)
  • Among children with PSC-UC, 8 had high GGT (>50) at baseline and only 1 had a normal GGT at baseline.
  • All UC patients who developed PSC were diagnosed withing 6 months of their UC diagnosis.
  • At baseline, 22 patients with UC had an elevated GGT and 73 had a normal GGT.  Thus, about one-third of patients with an elevated GGT developed PSC (possibly more as all patients were not subjected to extensive testing)

My view: This study reinforces two concepts: 1) GGT is valuable as a screening test 2) PSC (often asymptomatic) is fairly common in UC and needs to be considered especially in the first year of diagnosis.  What this study does not do is help us figure out what should be done about children with asymptomatic PSC as there are no proven therapies.

Related blog posts:

More Pics from P’tit Train du Nord Linear Park

Fecal Microbial Transplantation -Evidence for Use Beyond Recurrent Clostridium Difficile

Briefly noted: GR D’Haens, C Jobin. Gastroenterol 2019; 157: 624-36. This review sums up the emerging evidence for use of fecal microbial transplantation for conditions besides recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.

Table 2 succinctly provides list of disease, types of study/evidence, and potential effect.

  • Among gastrointestinal diseases, the authors note that there is an “overall positive” effect for ulcerative colitis, “suggestive” benefits for IBS, GVHD, post-antibiotic diarrhea, constipation, and hepatic encephalopathy.  No effect has been evident with Crohn’s disease or pouchitis.
  • Among nongastrointestinal diseases, the authors note a “suggestive” benefit in autism and metabolic syndrome and “unknown” effect with psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.

My take: The review indicates a need for more studies and the need to define which factors in fecal material mediate the therapeutic effects.

Related article: OC Aroniadis. Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology; 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30198-0. In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial in patients aged 18–65 years with moderate-to-severe IBS-D with 48 patients, FMT (capsule study) was safe, but did not induce symptom relief at 12 weeks compared with placebo.

Related blog posts:

Ustekinumab for Ulcerative Colitis (UNIFI Trial)

A landmark study (BE Sands et al. NEJM 2019; 381: 1201-14) shows that ustekinumab (Stelara) can be an effective therapy for moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis (UC); it is already an approved, established therapy for Crohn’s disease. This randomized placebo-controlled study included an 8-week induction trial (n=961) followed by a 44-week maintenance trial (n=523) for patients with response.

Clinical remission was defined as a total socre of ≤2 on the Mayo scale (range 0-12) and no subscore >11 on any of the four Mayo scale components.

Key findings:

  • During induction, there was a similar clinical remission rate between those who received 130 mg fixed intravenous dose compared to those who received 6 mg/kg: 15.6% and 15.5% compared to 5.3% for placebo group.
  • During maintenance, among patients receiving 90 mg every 8 weeks the clinical remission rate at 44 weeks was 43.8%, in those with 90 mg every 12 weeks the rate was 38.4%; placebo group was 24.0%.
  • The response to ustekinumab occurred in those with or without previous treatment failure with biologic agents, though response was lower in both induction and maintenance in those with prior treatment failure.  In both phases, at least 59% of participants had failed either or both anti-TNF agents or vedolizumab.
  • In this study, there were similar serious adverse events with ustekinumab compared to placebo.  In the treatment groups, there were two deaths (one from ARDS, one from esophageal varices) and 7 cases of cancer (3 nonmelanoma skin cancer, two colon cancer, one prostate, one renal).  There was one death from testicular cancer in the placebo group. Also four patients in the ustekinumab group had opportunistic infections including CMV in two, legionella in one and HSV in one.

In terms of dosing, the authors note that there was greater improvement in calprotectin values during induction in the group who received 6 mg/kg compared to those who received 130 mg.  At week 44, using more objective and stringent end points (eg. endoscopic improvement), greater clinical benefit was observed with the every 8 week regimen.

Visual abstract from NEJM Twitter Feed:

The following image depicts patients response during the maintenance phase –the lightest color is placebo, followed by every 8 weeks, and then the darkest color is every 12 weeks.  The x-axis measures (left to right) are clinical remission, maintenance of clinical response at week 44, endoscopic improvement, corticosteroid-free remission, and remission at 44 weeks in those with remission after induction.

My take: Ustekinumab is more effective for placebo in patients with ulcerative colitis.  More experience is needed to understand its long-term safety.

Related blog posts: