Ustekinumab in Pediatric Patients and More on VTE Prophylaxis

FS Kim et al. JPGN 2021; 73: 610-614. Open Access (PDF): Experience Using Ustekinumab in Pediatric Patients With Medically Refractory Crohn Disease

In this retrospective study with 38 pediatric patients with Crohn’s disease, 34% had stricturing or penetrating disease. Key findings:

  • At time of last follow-up, 84.2% of patients remained on UST for a median duration on UST of 62.1 weeks, and 60.5% achieved clinical remission
  • 89.5% of patients had no significant adverse events
  • Sixteen (of 38, 42.1%) patients required dose escalation, to every 4 weeks (n= 15 of these 16, 93.8%) or every 6 weeks (Nn=1 of 16, 6.3%)

My take: Ustekinumab had good efficacy in this group of refractory pediatric patients.

Related blog posts:

E Story et al. JPGN 2021; 73: 604-609. Safety of Venous Thromboprophylaxis With Low-molecular-weight Heparin in Children With Ulcerative Colitis

In this retrospective study with 218 inpatient pediatric patients with active ulcerative colitis, the key findings:

  • Use of enoxaparin did not result in a greater fall in hemoglobin among those with acute severe colitis (initial PUCAI ≥65) during the week following admission and there was not an increased risk of needing a transfusion
  • VTE occurred in 2 of 130 in control group and 1 of 88 in enoxaparin group (enoxaparin group was sicker)

My take: The absolute risk of VTE is low in the pediatric population. This study shows that enoxaparin prophylaxis is NOT associated with increased issues with blood loss. In those with active disease, the presence of CVC and use of steroids are known risk factors and require consideration of, at minimum, nonpharmacologic interventions.

Related blog posts:

Billy Goat Trail, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park

Encouraging Safety Data for Ustekinumab & ESPGHAN Obesity Position Paper

WJ Sandborn et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 994-1007. Full text: Safety of Ustekinumab in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Pooled Safety Analysis of Results from Phase 2/3 Studies

Methods: Data from 6 ustekinumab phase 2/3 CD and UC studies were pooled, and safety was evaluated through 1 year; this included 2574 patients (1733 patient-years of follow-up)

Key Safety findings –Events per 100 patient years -placebo vs ustekinumab respectively:

  • Adverse events: 165.99 [95% CI, 155.81–176.67] vs 118.32 [95% CI, 113.25–123.55])
  • Serious AEs: 27.50 [95% CI, 23.45–32.04] vs 21.23 [95% CI, 19.12–23.51])
  • Infections 80.31 [95% CI, 73.28–87.84] vs 64.32 [95% CI, 60.60–68.21])
  • Serious infections: 5.53 [95% CI, 3.81–7.77] vs 5.02 [95% CI, 4.02–6.19])
  • Malignancies excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer: 0.17 [95% CI, 0.00–0.93] vs 0.40 [95% CI, 0.16–0.83])
  • Major cardiovascular events were rare with 2 in placebo group 0.34 and 2 in the ustekinumab group 0.12

More key findings:

  • No cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy
  • Antibodies to ustekinumab were identified in 3.6% of patients

My take: This study showed similar safety between ustekinumab and placebo, but is limited by short followup. The authors note that 5-year data from ustekinumab’s use with psoriasis has found no safety signals for malignancy.

Related blog posts:

Unrelated article: E Verduci et al. JPGN 2021; 72: 769-783: Full text: Role of Dietary Factors, Food Habits, and Lifestyle in Childhood Obesity Development: A Position Paper From the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition

Why I Didn’t Like a Study on Resilience Plus One

P Sehgal et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 791-796. High Levels of Psychological Resilience Associated With Less Disease Activity, Better Quality of Life, and Fewer Surgeries in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This cross-sectional study with 229 patients examined the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) activity and resilience based on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale questionnaire (high resilience score ≥ 35).

Key findings:

  • High resilience was noted in 27% of patients with UC and 21.5% of patients with CD.
  • Among patients with UC, those with high resilience had a mean Mayo score of 1.54, and those with low resilience had a mean Mayo score of 4.31, P < 0.001.
  • Among patients with CD, those with high resilience had a mean HBI of 2.31, and those with low resilience had a mean HBI of 3.95, P = 0.035.
  • In multivariable analysis, high resilience was independently associated with lower disease activity in both UC (P < 0.001) and CD (P = 0.037) and with higher QoL (P = 0.016).
  • High resilience was also associated with fewer surgeries (P = 0.001) among patients with CD.

Reading this study, made me think of Galen’s assertion about a different treatment, circa 100 AD:   “All who drink of this remedy recover in a short time except those whom it does not help, who all die. It is obvious, therefore, that it fails only in incurable cases.” In the case of this study, the remedy is resiliency.

This study is intriguing and adds to the literature that mental health and IBD may be a two-way street: mental health may affect IBD and IBD activity may affect mental health. However, it is difficult to prove causation in a cross-sectional study. Reverse causation is possible; that is higher disease burden may result in lower resilience.

Also, it is not clear to me that resilience is a particularly modifiable factor. Some may interpret this study in a ‘blame the victim’ mode. I think a lot of individuals would think they are resilient but most do not know until they face a difficult situation. Perhaps, Mike Tyson’s assertion is more apt: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

My take: This study does not prove that resilience helps prevent IBD activity, though being resilient is nice if you have it.

Plus one: JR Rosh et al. J Crohns Colitis. 2021 May 26; jjab089. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjab089. (EPUB). Ustekinumab in Pediatric Patients with Moderately to Severely Active Crohn’s Disease Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Efficacy Results from UniStar, a Phase 1 Study This was a “multicentre, 16-week, double-blind induction dose-ranging study (NCT02968108), patients aged 2-<18 years; patients were randomized (1:1) to one of 2 weight range-based intravenous induction doses: 130mg vs 390mg in patients ≥40kg and 3mg/kg vs 9mg/kg in patients <40kg. At week 8, all patients received a single subcutaneous ustekinumab maintenance dose of 90mg in patients ≥40kg or 2mg/kg in patients <40kg..” (Kudos to my partner, Stanley Cohen, one of the authors)

Key finding:  Pharmacokinetics were similar to those in adults with Crohn’s disease. However, serum ustekinumab concentrations were lower among those with body weight <40kg…These results suggest a different dosing regimen may be required for patients <40kg

Related blog posts:

Image below from Anne’s Beach (Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida)

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:

Ustekinumab for Refractory Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis and Updated Adalimumab Dosing

As noted in previous blog posts (see below), adult guidelines for ulcerative colitis favor ustekinumab over vedolizumab for ulcerative colitis patients who have had anti-TNF therapy; recent pediatric guidelines appeared to do the opposite, possibly due to limited data with ustekinumab.

A recent study (J Dhaliwal et al. AP&T 2021; One‐year outcomes with ustekinumab therapy in infliximab‐refractory paediatric ulcerative colitis: a multicentre prospective study) provides prospective data on ustekinumab effectiveness when given to children with UC refractory to other biologics; n=25. Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference.

Key findings:

  •  All patients had failed prior infliximab therapy, and 12 (48%) also had failed vedolizumab.  Five patients discontinued ustekinumab after IV induction (four undergoing colectomy).
  • On intent to treat basis, 44% (n=11) achieved the primary endpoint of steroid‐free remission at week 52, including nine (69%) of 13 who previously treated with anti‐TNF only vs two (17%) of 12 who previously failed also by vedolizumab. Seven of 11 remitters met the criteria for endoscopic improvement.
  • Higher trough levels were not associated with a superior rate of clinical remission; the median (IQR) trough levels (μg/mL) were greater with q4 vs q8 weekly dosing (8.7 [4.6‐9.9] vs 3.8 [12.7‐4.8]) P = 0.02.
  • No adverse events were associated with therapy.

My take: Ustekinumab is a good option for pediatric patients with ulcerative colitis who are refractory to anti-TNF agents. More data are needed to help in positioning therapies.

Also, Humira (adalimumab) is now FDA-approved for children as young as 5 years with ulcerative colitis: FDA Approves Adalimumab as Treatment for Children With Ulcerative Colitis (2/25/21). “This approval is based on results from the phase 3, randomized, double-blind, multicenter ENVISION I (NCT02065557) study.” Abbvie has now updated their Humira dosing recommendations (Reference: Thanks to Clair Talmadge for this update.

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.

No Benefit of Combination Therapy with Ustekinumab or Vedolizumab

C Yzet et al. Clin Gastroenerol Hepatol 2021; 19: 668-679. Full Text: No Benefit of Concomitant Immunomodulator Therapy on Efficacy of Biologics That Are Not Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonists in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Meta-analysis

In a systematic review, key findings:

  • Combination therapy was not associated with better clinical outcomes in patients receiving vedolizumab (16 studies: OR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.68–1.05; I2=13.9%; Q test P = .17); n= 933 and n=2378 with combination therapy and monotherapy, respectively
  • Combination therapy was not associated with better clinical outcomes in patients receiving ustekinumab (15 studies: OR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.87–1.38; I2 = 11%; Q test P = .28); n=856 and n=1926 patients with combination therapy and monotherapy, respectively

Why don’t immunomodulators seem to help? “Unlike anti-TNF, prospective studies as well as post hoc analysis of randomized controlled trial consistently reported a low immunogenicity [with ustekinumab and vedolizumab]…all the prospective studies available to date have shown no impact of immunomodulator on the trough serum level of vedolizumab or ustekinumab.”

Limitation: patients treated with combination therapy in the included studies could be more severe

My take: “This meta-analysis found that overall the use of combination therapy in patients treated with vedolizumab or ustekinumab was not associated with a clinical benefit in comparison with the use of monotherapy.”


Incidental Ileitis, IBD Pipeline, & Ustekinumab Followup Data

M Agrawal et al. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, jjab030 Prevalence and progression of incidental terminal ileitis on non-diagnostic colonoscopy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Key findings:

  • Seven studies reported the prevalence of IDTI (Incidentally-diagnosed terminal ileitis) in 44,398 persons undergoing non-diagnostic colonoscopy
  • The pooled prevalence rate of IDTI was 1.6%
  • Progression to overt CD was rare over 1-7 years of followup

My take: As noted below by Dr. Rubin, in those with normal labs who are asymptomatic, most incidental ileitis is not progressive and should be monitored.

This slide from @RealCecum Twitter Feed and @IBDMD Twitter Feed

Ustekinumab Escalation in Patients with Crohn’s Disease & Healthy Lifestyle Choices for IBD Patients

JE Ollech et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021; 19: 104-110. Effectiveness of Ustekinumab Dose Escalation in Patients With Crohn’s Disease

In patients with Crohn’s disease, dose escalation of biologic therapy (eg. anti-TNF agents, vedolizumab) has been shown to be helpful in recapturing response to treatment. In a retrospective study with 110 patients, Ollech et al explore the outcomes in those who had their subcutaneous ustekinumab interval shortened to 4 weeks (from every 8 weeks).

Key findings:

  • Following dose interval shortening, the patients’ median Harvey Bradshaw Index (HBI) decreased from 4.5 to 3 ( P = .002), the median level of CRP decreased from 8 mg/L to 3 mg/L ( P = .031), and median level of fecal calprotectin decreased from 378 μg/g to 157 μg/g ( P = .57).
  •  Among patients with active disease (HBI >4, CRP ≥/=5mg/dL, fecal calprotectin >250ug/g, or endoscopic evidence for disease activity), dose interval shortening was associated with a 28% clinical remission (an HBI score ≤4), and 50% had reduced levels of fecal calprotectin; 36% achieved endoscopic remission.
  • The authors did not identify serious adverse events with dose shortening.

My take: Prospective studies are needed. This study indicates that more frequent dosing improves outcomes in a significant fraction of those with active disease.

Related blog posts:

Unrelated article: C-H Lo et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021; 19: 87-95. Healthy Lifestyle Is Associated With Reduced Mortality in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases In this study, using data from three large cohort studies, the authors assessed the impact of 5 healthy lifestyle factors: never smoking, body mass index 18.5–24.9 kg/m 2, vigorous physical activity in the highest 50% with non-zero value, alternate Mediterranean diet score ≥4, and light drinking [0.1–5.0 g/d]. Key finding:

  • Compared to patients with IBD with no healthy lifestyle factors, patients with IBD with 3–5 healthy lifestyle factors had a significant reduction in all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 0.29; 95% CI, 0.16–0.52; Ptrend < .0001). 

My take: Like the general population, healthy lifestyle choices are important in individuals with IBD; this study provides some data on the effects on outcomes.

Most Popular 2020 Posts

I want to thank all of you who take an interest in my blog, particularly those who give suggestions, references, and encouragement. The following posts were the most popular from the past year.

Related post: Favorite Posts of 2020

Sandy Springs at Sunrise

IBD Update -December 2020

DHW Little et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:1768–1774. Effectiveness of Dose De-escalation of Biologic Therapy in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Systematic Review (Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference)

In this systematic review, a total of 995 adult patients were included from 18 observational studies (4 prospective and 14 retrospective), 1 nonrandomized controlled trial, and 1 subgroup analysis of a randomized controlled trial.

Key findings:

  • Biologic dose de-escalation was associated with relapse rates as high as 50% at 1 year. Overall, clinical relapse occurred in 0%–54% of patients who dose de-escalated biologic therapy (17 studies).
  • Lower rates of relapse (10%–25%) were reported in studies involving patients with endoscopic and/or histologic remission
  • These results are in agreement with a previous meta-analysis, which found a 1-year risk of relapse after discontinuation of anti-TNF therapy of 36% in CD and 28% in UC ( Gisbert JP, et al.. Am J Gastroenterol 2016;111:632–47).

My take: This study shows that dose de-escalation of biologic therapy in IBD
seems to be associated with high rates of clinical relapse

C Chapuis-Biron et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:1812–1820. Ustekinumab for Perianal Crohn’s Disease: The BioLAP Multicenter Study From the GETAID (Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference too)

In this national multicenter retrospective cohort study in 207 adult patients with either active or inactive perianal Crohn’s disease (pCD) who received ustekinumab (2017-2018). The majority had received multiple biologics (~85% had at least 2 anti-TNF agents, 28% had received vedolizumab) and prior anal surgeries (mean 2.8).

Methods: Success of ustekinumab was defined by (i) clinical success at 6 months of treatment assessed by the physicians’ judgment, with (ii) no need for dedicated medical treatment for perianal lesions (antibiotics and/or topics) nor (iii) unscheduled surgical treatment. For perianal disease evaluation, clinical success was defined in the study protocol, by the absence of draining pus for fistulas, and no anal ulcers

Key findings:

  •  In patients with active pCD, success was reached in 57/148 (38.5%) patients.
  • Among patients with setons at initiation, 29/88 (33%) had a successful removal.
  • In patients with inactive pCD at initiation, the probability of recurrence-free survival was 86.2% and 75.1% at weeks 26 and 52, respectively.
  • The absence of ustekinumab optimization was associated with upper odds of success (OR 2.74). “We can suppose in our present study that optimization of treatment was needed in severe refractory patients with no or insufficient response to ustekinumab. Thus, in these nonresponders, success was not achieved despite optimization.”

My take (partly borrowed from authors): “This large multicenter dedicated study adds
substantial evidence to the growing literature on ustekinumab effectiveness in refractory CD.” For pCD, optimization of ustekinumab has a low likelihood of improving response.

Related blog posts -De-escalation:

Related blog posts -Ustekinumab/Crohn’s Disease: