IBD Updates: Rising Burden of IBD, Calprotectin in Severe Colitis, Postoperative Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, Formula Choice for EEN

M Agrawal et al. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 1547-1554. Open Access! The Rising Burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Denmark Over Two Decades: A Nationwide Cohort Study

Key findings:

  • Between 1995 and 2016, the incidence rate (95% confidence interval) per 100,000 person-years rose from 9.1 (8.3–10.0) to 17.8 (16.8–19.0) for CD, and from 21.0 (19.8–22.3) to 28.4 (27.0–29.8) for UC.
  • The highest increase in CD and UC incidence rates occurred in children and young adults, respectively.
  • The prevalence of IBD doubled from 1995 to 2016; the greatest increase (2.5-fold) was in UC prevalence among individuals aged >40 years. During this period, the median age of the IBD population increased by 6 to 7 years.

Y Pan et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1865-1871. Utility of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring for Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonists and Ustekinumab in Postoperative Crohn’s Disease

In this retrospective study (n=130), therapeutic drug levels in the postoperative period were associated with improved outcomes for anti-TNF agents (infliximab (IFX) or adalimumab (ADA) but NOT for ustekinumab (UST):

  • In patients with IFX ≥3 µg/mL, higher rates of deep remission (39% vs 0%; P = .02) existed compared with those with IFX less than 3 µg/mL. This was true for clinical remission (44% vs 9%; P = .04) and objective (83% vs 62%; P = .1) remission. 
  •  In patients with ADA ≥7.5 µg/mL, rates of deep (42% vs 0%; P = .02), clinical (42% vs 0%; P = .02), and objective (88% vs 40%; P = .007) remission were higher than patients with lower concentrations.
  • For UST, rates of deep (28% vs 17%; P = 1.0), clinical (33% vs 33%; P = 1.0), and objective (70% vs 67%; P = 1.0) remission were similar between patients regardless of drug concentration.

S Sasidharan et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1833-1837. Fecal Calprotectin Is a Predictor of Need for Rescue Therapy in Hospitalized Severe Colitis

In this retrospective study (n=147), a fecal calprotectin >800 mcg/g independently predicted the need for inpatient medical rescue therapy (odds ratio, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.12-6.12). An admission calprotectin >800 mcg/g independently predicted surgery within 3 months (odds ratio, 2.88; 95% CI, 1.01-8.17). My take: This is the least surprising study I’ve read this past month —those with more severe colitis, based on calprotectin values, were more likely to need more intensive treatments.

R Dawson et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1859-1864. Comparing Effectiveness of a Generic Oral Nutritional Supplement With Specialized Formula in the Treatment of Active Pediatric Crohn’s Disease

In this retrospective pediatric study (n=171), the authors found that a generic oral supplement (Fortsip) was as effective as a specialized formula (Modulen IBD) for enteral nutrition. “No difference was demonstrated in remission rate (Fortisip n = 67 of 106 [63%] vs Modulen IBD n = 41 of 64 [64%], P = .89), nonadherence rate (Fortisip n = 7 of 106 [7%] vs Modulen IBD 3 of 64 [5%], P = .57) or method of administration.” The main difference in outcome was a lower expense in the group receiving the generic formula. My take: This study is in agreement with previous studies.

Related blog posts:

Coming to a GI Clinic Near You? Intestinal Ultrasound for Ulcerative Colitis

F De Voogd, et al. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 1569-1581. Intestinal Ultrasound Is Accurate to Determine Endoscopic Response and Remission in Patients With Moderate to Severe Ulcerative Colitis: A Longitudinal Prospective Cohort Study

27 patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) completed followup in this single-center, prospective, longitudinal cohort study. Key findings:

  • Bowel wall thickness (BWT) correlated with endoscopic Mayo score. “The most accurate cutoff for BWT was 2.8 mm for endoscopic remission, 3.9 mm for improvement, and a decrease of 32% for response.”

The associated editorial (C Palmela, C Maaster. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 1485-1487. Open Access! The Use of Intestinal Ultrasound in Ulcerative Colitis-More Than a Mucosal Disease?) details other studies showing the utility of intestinal ultrasound, including the TRUST%UC study which enrolled 253 patients with UC. “. At baseline, 88.5% of patients had increased bowel wall thickness (BWT). Response to therapy could be detected as early as 2 weeks after initiation of therapy, as shown by reduction of abnormal BWT.” In anothre study with severe UC, “BWT reduction of >20% being an excellent predictor of response to intravenous steroids at 48 hours, as shown recently by Ivemark et al.10

The editorial notes that intestinal ultrasound “is often thought as being operator dependent. Nonetheless, several studies have shown an excellent inter-observer agreement in IUS, especially for the assessment of BWT,7,12 as was also found in this [De Voogd] study.” An additional finding in the De Voogd study was that the “the submucosa was the most thickened layer, and after 8 weeks of therapy it was also the most responsive layer;” thus, UC is not simply a mucosal disease.

My take: This study shows that with more widespread adoption, many UC patients could be followed non-invasively with intestinal ultrasound (and calprotectin).

Related blog post:

Treatments for “Bad” Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Part 3)

D Tarabar et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1549-1554. A Prospective Trial with Long Term Follow-up of Patients With Severe, Steroid-Resistant Ulcerative Colitis Who Received Induction Therapy With Cyclosporine and Were Maintained With Vedolizumab

As noted previously, in my view, “bad” inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) occurs when treatments are not working; though, many would argue that any IBD is bad IBD. Today’s post concludes several reviewed articles that focus on the problem of IBD that is not responding well to treatment.

Methods: Seventeen steroid-resistant adult UC patients were treated with cyclosporine in combination with vedolizumab, with a follow up of 52 weeks. Only 2 patients in this chort had failed infliximab therapy. The authors administered IV cyclosporine at a dose of “2 to 4 mg/kg/d IV for 7 days, titrated to a goal trough level of 300 to 400 ng/mL.” In those with a response, patients were started on oral therapy along with IV vedolizumab. During oral therapy (for 8 weeks), goal trough levels were 150 to 250 ng/mL (measured weekly).

Key findings:

  • Fifteen (88%) of 17 patients initially responded to cyclosporine and were started on vedolizumab
  • At week 10, 11 (73%) of 15 patients had achieved endoscopic remission with a Mayo score of ≤1. 
  • At week 26, 14 (93%) of 15 of the patients were in clinical remission and 11 (73%) were in endoscopic remission.
  • At week 52 of follow-up, 10 (71%) of 14 of these patients continued to be in endoscopic remission and 11 (79%) of 14 were in clinical remission.
  • Colectomy-free survival rate was 82% (n = 14 of 17) at 1 year and mean C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and fecal calprotectin levels were 3.2 mg/L, 16.1 mm/h, and 168.3 µg/g, respectively

My take: Cyclosporine is a fast-acting medication and thus appropriate as a salvage therapy in those with severe disease. Concerns for adverse effects have led most pediatric GIs to favor infliximab for refractory severe UC. However, in selected patients, it could be a useful “bridge” to slower-acting long-term treatments. It is possible (likely) that insurance issues would be less with cyclosporine than tofacitinib as a bridge therapy.

**An alternative agent to cyclosporine is tacrolimus. Hamel B, Wu M, Hamel EO, Bass DM, Park KT. Outcome of tacrolimus and vedolizumab after corticosteroid and anti-TNF failure in paediatric severe colitis. BMJ Open Gastroenterol. 2018;5(1):e000195 (“Positioning Biologic Therapies in the Management of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease” & 14% of U.S. Infected with COVID-19)

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.

Island Ford National Recreational Area, Sandy Springs GA

Treatments for “Bad” Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Part 2) & Reassuring Data on Tofacitinib

As noted yesterday, in my view, “bad” inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) occurs when treatments are not working; though, many would argue that any IBD is bad IBD. Over the next few days, reviewed articles will focus on the problem of IBD that is not responding well to treatment. This article reports on the use of tofacitinib to avoid colectomy in children with severe ulcerative colitis.

BD Constant et al. JPGN 2022; 75: 724-730. Tofacitinib Salvage Therapy for Children Hospitalized for Corticosteroid- and Biologic-Refractory Ulcerative Colitis

This small (n=11) retrospective single-center cohort study of consecutive hospitalized pediatric patients initiating tofacitinib for refractory ulcerative colitis from 2018 to 2021. All patients demonstrated nonresponse to both intravenous corticosteroids and anti-TNF therapy prior to tofacitinib initiation.

Key findings:

  • Eight of 11 patients remained colectomy-free at 90 days following hospital admission and 6 remained colectomy-free over median 182-day follow-up, including 4 of whom remained on tofacitinib
  • The authors note that three patients started with TID dosing and eight received BID dosing (10 mg per dose). The higher dosing was influenced by a case control study by Bernstein et al which showed a 15% 90-day colectomy rate among adults with acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC), particularly those dosed at TID (Open Access: Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021; 19: 2112-2120. Tofacitinib for Biologic-Experienced Hospitalized Patients With Acute Severe Ulcerative Colitis: A Retrospective Case-Control Study)
  • “Remission rates peaked at 12-16 weeks and decreased at 6 months…tofacitinib may …bridge to slower-acting and possibly safer long-term therapies such as ustekinumab or vedolizumab”
  • The median time to corticosteroid discontinuation was 89 days
  • No serious tofacitinib-related adverse events were observed

My take: Given the small numbers, this is clearly an area where cooperation (& ImproveCareNow) could be helpful in determining the safety and effectiveness of tofacitinib for pediatric ASUC. Also, if tofacitinib is used as a ‘bridge’ this is likely to present insurance coverage issues.

Related article:

Hoisnard L, Pina Vegas L, Dray-Spira R, et al. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Published Online First: 05 October 2022. doi: 10.1136/ard-2022-222824. Risk of major adverse cardiovascular and venous thromboembolism events in patients with rheumatoid arthritis exposed to JAK inhibitors versus adalimumab: a nationwide cohort study Methods: This was a nationwide population-based cohort study (n=15,835) of the French national health data system, the exposed group initiating a JAKi and non-exposed group initiating adalimumab Key findings:  Risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) for the exposed versus non-exposed group was not significant: HRw 1.0 (95% CI 0.7 to 1.5) (p=0.99), nor was risk of VTEs significant: HRw 1.1 (0.7 to 1.6) (p=0.63). This study provides reassuring data regarding the risks of MACEs and VTEs in patients initiating a JAKi versus adalimumab, including patients at high risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Related blog posts:

From Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Georgia Chapter, December Newsletter: Donate to Cohen-Saripkin Fund

Postcolectomy Enteritis and Witch Testing

K Hawa et al. JPGN Reports 2022; doi: 10.1097/PG9.0000000000000255. Open Access! Postcolectomy Enteritis in a Pediatric Patient With Ulcerative Colitis

In this case report, the authors describe a 16 yo male with ulcerative colitis who on postoperative day 4 after colectomy developed an early onset of non-infectious enteritis. Treatment included corticosteroids “without significant improvement over 2 weeks. As his corticosteroid dose was tapered by 5 mg/day each week, ostomy output decreased, and abdominal pain and distension improved.” He continued to improve without further interventions. “6 weeks postoperatively, repeat upper endoscopy and ileoscopy demonstrated resolution of his duodenitis and ileitis grossly.”

“This is the first published case of a pediatric patient with PCE [postcolectomy enteritis], an entity previously only described in adults. PCE may be difficult to diagnose; in patients initially diagnosed with UC who develop small bowel inflammation following colectomy, the concern is often misdiagnosed Crohn’s disease.” The authors note that the “presentation is differentiated from Crohn’s disease based on timing [days to months after surgery], histology and diffuse pattern of mucosal involvement (3).”

My take: Rare cases PCE (a self-limited enteritis) occur and can be difficult to distinguish from Crohn’s disease. With PCE, if findings improve, this would suggest PCE whereas if symptoms persist, then this would suggest Crohn’s disease.

This case reminds me of the swimming test for a witch. Sinking to the bottom indicated that the accused was innocent while floating indicated a guilty verdict. Which is to say that we don’t have a great test to tell if someone has PCE at presentation.

(A) Initial ileoscopy image—diffuse inflammation characterized by erythema, exudate, and friability. (B) Initial ileal histopathology—severe active ileitis, erosion, and focal crypt irregularity (magnification 100×).

Repeat ileoscopy image– (C) normal mucosa. (D) Repeat ileal histopathology—nonspecific changes including patchy lamina propria lymphoplasma cell infiltrate, eosinophilia, and spotty glandular and intraepithelial lymphocytosis (magnification 100×).

Improving Natural History of Pediatric Crohn’s Disease with Biologic Therapy -Two Studies

D Ley et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 2588-2597. Open Access! New Therapeutic Strategies Have Changed the Natural History of Pediatric Crohn’s Disease: A Two-Decade Population-Based Study

This retrospective study dating back to 1988 examined 1007 patients diagnosed with CD who were followed up for a median duration of 8.8 years.

Key findings:

  • The risk for intestinal resection at 5 years decreased significantly over time (P1, 35%; P2, 31%; and P3, 22%; P = .0003. This decrease in resections coincided with increased use of immunosuppressive (IS) and anti-TNF therapy: IS and anti-TNF exposure rate at 5 years increased from 33.9% (in P1) to 76.5% (in P3) and from 0% (in P1) to 50.5% (in P3).
  • The risk for progression from inflammatory to stricturing behavior decreased significantly over time (P1, 27%; P2, 28%; and P3, 20%)

LE Targownik et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 2607-2618. Earlier Anti-TNF Initiation Leads to Long-term Lower Health Care Utilization in Crohn’s Disease but Not in Ulcerative Colitis

Methods: The authors “used health administrative data from Manitoba, Canada to identify all persons with a new diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) between 2001 and 2018 who received tumor necrosis factor antagonists (anti-TNF) therapy and had at least 1 year of post anti-TNF initiation follow-up.”

Key findings:

  • Among 742 persons with CD, early anti-TNF initiators had fewer IBD-specific and overall hospitalizations over the 5 years following the start of therapy
  • Incidence of resective surgery was also lower in earlier anti-TNF initiators with CD if the first year following initiation was excluded from the analysis.
  • In 318 cases of UC, there was no impact of the timing of anti-TNF therapy on the rates of hospitalization and surgery.

My take: These two studies show that use of biologic therapy is associated with better outcomes in Crohn’s disease including fewer intestinal resections and fewer hospitalizations. It appears that earlier use may alter the natural history in part by reducing the likelihood of stricturing disease. Interestingly, the RISK study showed a reduction in penetrating disease with early use of biologics but not a reduction in stricturing disease (Related blog post: CCFA: Updates in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2017 (part 3))

IBD Updates: Dietary Patterns and Disease Activity, Ustekinumab in SUSTAIN study, INSPECT Study for Perianal Fistulas

BN Limketkai et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1627-1636. Open Access! Dietary Patterns and Their Association With Symptoms Activity in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. This retrospective study with dietary surveys of 691 participants found the following:

  • Compared with WD1 (typical Western Diet), PB2 (Plant-based diet 2) was associated with lower odds of active symptoms for CD (odds ratio [OR], 0.32
  • PB1 (Plant-based diet 1) was associated with lower odds of active symptoms for participants with UC (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23-0.90) but not for participants with CD (OR, 0.95

Diet PB1 (“Plant-based Diet 1”) was characterized by much higher intake of fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins, and cooked grains than most other dietary clusters. There was low water intake in favor of juices and other beverages. There was otherwise average intake of added fats and oils, sugars, seafood, and dairy products, and modest intake of meats, eggs, mixed grains, and breads.

Diet PB2 (“Plant-based Diet 2”) was characterized by high intake of fruits, vegetables, plant proteins, and cooked grains and low intake of animal proteins (especially red and cured meats), added fats, sweetened beverages, sweet bakery products, other desserts, eggs, and breads. There was also a reduction of other beverages in favor of water. There was otherwise an average intake of seafood and dairy products.

M Chaparro et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1725-1736. Open Access! Long-Term Real-World Effectiveness and Safety of Ustekinumab in Crohn’s Disease Patients: The SUSTAIN Study In this retrospective study, 97% of the 463 patients had received prior biological therapy.

  • At week 16, 56% had remission, 70% had response
  • 26.1% required dose escalation or intensification
  • After a median follow-up of 15 months, 356 (77%) patients continued treatment.
  • Previous intestinal surgery and concomitant steroid treatment were associated with higher risk of ustekinumab discontinuation.
  • Neither concomitant immunosuppressants nor the number of previous biologics were associated with ustekinumab discontinuation risk

J Panes et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 1737-1745. Open Access! INSPECT: A Retrospective Study to Evaluate Long-term Effectiveness and Safety of Darvadstrocel in Patients With Perianal Fistulizing Crohn’s Disease Treated in the ADMIRE-CD Trial

Background: The current chart review study evaluated the longer-term effectiveness and safety of darvadstrocel (expanded allogeneic adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells).; n=43 treated patient and n=46 controls.

Key findings:

  • At 52, 104, and 156 weeks posttreatment, clinical remission was observed in 29 (67.4%) of 43, 23 (53.5%) of 43, and 23 (53.5%) of 43 darvadstrocel-treated patients, compared with 24 (52.2%) of 46, 20 (43.5%) of 46, and 21 (45.7%) of 46 control subjects, respectively.

CMV Colitis Rarely Identified

Q Buck et al. JPGN 2022; 75: 462-465. Routine Histology-Based Diagnosis of CMV Colitis Was Rare in Pediatric Patients

Key findings from this retrospective review (2011-2019):

  • Of 1801 cases of histologic colitis, 11 patients had CMV found by histology (mean age 15.4, 72.7% female), with an incidence of 0.6%
  • Nine out of these 11 (81.8%) patients were immunocompromised and 4 (36.4%) had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as an underlying diagnosis of whom 2 had new-onset ulcerative colitis
  • 5 of 6 post-transplant patients with CMV colitis had preexisting CMV viremia
  • An independent analysis of 54 consecutive IBD-associated colectomy cases at TCH showed no histologic evidence of CMV

The study finding that half of the cases of CMV in the IBD population were identified prior to treatment indicates that the underlying IBD may be a more important susceptibility factor than the immunosuppressive medications.

My take: This study indicates that CMV colitis remains important in the post-transplant population but is rarely consequential in the pediatric IBD population.

Related blog posts:

Little O’Malley Peak Trail, near Anchorage AK.
Denali is visible in background, even though it is ~180 miles away.

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.

Precision Dosing with Vedolizumab in Pediatrics

RJ Colman et al. AP&T 2022; https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.17277. Open access! Real world population pharmacokinetic study in children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease discovers novel blood and stool microbial predictors of vedolizumab clearance

“The study included data from 463 observed vedolizumab concentrations (59 peaks and 404 troughs) from 74 patients with IBD (52 with Crohn’s disease and 22 with ulcerative colitis or unclassified IBD, median age 16 years)…This study was part of the multicentre REFINE study, which aimed to investigate paediatric PK factors among different biological therapies. Both induction and maintenance doses were between 6 and 10 mg/kg for patients less than 30 kg and 300 mg for patients above 30 kg.”

Key findings:

  • “Using the new model in a simulation analysis of standard vedolizumab infusions (0, 2 and 6 weeks followed by every 8 weeks), we demonstrate that the expected cTrough at week 22 (infusion-5) in the majority of patients would result in drug exposure below current cTrough targets..The dosing simulations in our current study found that receiving standard dosing would lead to <20% of patients achieving a cTrough of 20 μg/ml at infusion-5.”
  • “The severity of hypoalbuminemia resulted in higher drug CL (lower cTrough) than the inflammatory burden (elevated ESR).”
  • Infusion-3 cTrough of at least 37 μg/ml and infusion-4 cTrough of at least 20 μg/ml best predicted SFCR (steroid-free clinical remission) at infusion-4. In contrast, we showed inadequate drug exposure during induction (AUCweek 14 of <134,580 μg h/ml) was associated with clinical non-response

My take: This study shows that therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is likely to be beneficial in improving outcomes in pediatric patients receiving vedolizumab. Low albumin in particular is associated with increased drug clearance. From this study, it looks like most pediatric patients will need dosing every 4 to 6 weeks to achieve good levels. The authors in their discussion reinforce the utility of TDM to “guide anti-TNF dose optimisations has been shown to improve durability and reduce both immunogenicity and loss of response.”

References:

13 Dubinsky MC, Mendiolaza ML, Phan BL, Moran HR, Tse SS, Mould DR. Dashboard-driven accelerated infliximab induction dosing increases infliximab durability and reduces immunogenicity. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2022; 28: 1375– 85.

51 Strik AS, Löwenberg M, Mould DR, Berends SE, Ponsioen CI, van den Brande JMH, et al. Efficacy of dashboard driven dosing of infliximab in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a randomized controlled trial. Scand J Gastroenterol 2021; 56: 145– 154.

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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.

Rethinking the Link between NSAIDs and IBD Flares

This is the 4000th blog post for GutsandGrowth!

S Cohen-Meckelburg et al. American Journal of Gastroenterology 2022: doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000001932. The association between non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and inflammatory bowel disease exacerbations: a true association or residual bias?

Background: NSAIDs are well-known to cause gastrointestinal injury. While single center studies have suggested that NSAIDs are associated with increased IBD flares, a systemic review of 18 studies found no consistent association between NSAIDs and IBD exacerbation.

This study included 15,705 (44.8%) and 19,326 (55.2%) IBD patients with and without an NSAID exposure.

Key findings:

  • Findings from a Cox proportional hazards model suggest an association between NSAIDs and IBD exacerbation (HR 1.24; 95%CI 1.16-1.33)
  • However, the likelihood of an IBD exacerbation in the NSAID exposed arm preceding NSAID exposure was similar (HR 1.30; 95%CI 1.21-1.39).
  • Those who received NSAIDs were already at increased risk of experiencing a disease flare. And the prior event rate ratio for IBD exacerbation, as determined by dividing the adjusted HR after NSAID exposure by the adjusted HR for pre-NSAID exposure, was 0.95 (95% CI, 0.89 – 1.01).
  • “A self-controlled case series analysis of 3,968 patients who had both an NSAID exposure and IBD exacerbation demonstrated similar exacerbation rates in the 1-year preceding exposure, 2-6 weeks post-exposure, and 6-weeks to 6-months post-exposure, but higher incidence 0-2 weeks post-exposure, suggesting potential confounding by reverse causality.” The self-controlled part of the study allowed patients to serve as their own controls which allowed adjustment for many factors that are difficult to control with retrospective studies.
  • 75% of patients with IBD who were prescribed an NSAID did not have an IBD exacerbation during a mean of 5.9 years of follow-up
  • NSAIDs were commonly used: 36.5% of patients with IBD had received at least one NSAID prescription
  • NSAIDs use was prescribed more frequently in patients with immune targeted therapy (likely a marker for moderate to severe disease)

Discussion points:

  • The estimated prior event ratio of 0.95 suggests that the risk of IBD flares in NSAID-exposed patients preceded the use of NSAIDs. The risk of IBD exacerbation did not increase in the 2 weeks to 6 months after NSAID exposure.
  • The overall association of increased IBD flare is likely related to reverse causation. Patients may take NSAIDs due to arthropathy or other symptoms that may be an early manifestation of a flare.

My take: This study challenges the prevailing view that NSAID use worsen inflammatory bowel disease; it is more likely that IBD exacerbations are due to underlying risk from more severe disease and residual confounding/reverse causality. The study provides reassurance that short-duration use is likely to be well-tolerated in most patients with IBD.

Medscape Gastroenterology (summary of this study): Reassuring Data on NSAIDs in IBD Flares

Mt Hood (picture from a friend)