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; https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.16388. 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:  https://www.rxabbvie.com/pdf/humira.pdf). 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.”

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Incidental Ileitis, IBD Pipeline, & Ustekinumab Followup Data

M Agrawal et al. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, jjab030https://doi.org/10.1093/ecco-jcc/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:

Ustekinumab Effectiveness for Ulcerative Colitis Over Two Years

R Pannacionne et al. AP&T. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.16119. Full text link: Ustekinumab is effective and safe for ulcerative colitis through 2 years of maintenance therapy

Methods: Overall, 399 (adult) “responders to intravenous ustekinumab induction and who were randomised to maintenance therapy were treated in the long‐term extension (115 received subcutaneous placebo, 141 received ustekinumab 90 mg every 12 weeks [q12w], and 143 received ustekinumab 90 mg q8w). Placebo treatment was discontinued at unblinding after week 44”

Key Findings:

  • Symptomatic remission rates (stool frequency = 0/1; rectal bleeding = 0) at week 92 were, 64.5% and 67.6% in the ustekinumab q12w and q8w groups, respectively ((Intent-to-treat population).
  • At week 44 of maintenance, measures of UC disease activity (eg Mayo scores) were generally comparable among patients randomised to ustekinumab q12w and q8w with 46.1% and 52.4% in clinical remission and 56.7% and 61.5% with endoscopic improvement respectively
  • Among randomised patients treated in the long‐term extension, 78.7% and 83.2% of patients receiving q12w and q8w, respectively, attained symptomatic remission at week 92; >95% of patients in symptomatic remission at week 92 were corticosteroid‐free
  • No new safety signals were observed
Steroid-free Remission (Intent-to-treat population)

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

Stelara (Ustekinumab) Safety

F Poizeau et al. JAMA Dermatol. Published online September 9, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.2977. Association Between Early Severe Cardiovascular Events and the Initiation of Treatment With the Anti–Interleukin 12/23p40 Antibody Ustekinumab

Methods: “This case-time-control study used data from the French national health insurance database, covering 66 million individuals, on all patients exposed to ustekinumab between April 1, 2010, and December 31, 2016, classified according to their cardiovascular risk level (high- and low-risk strata). The risk period was the 6 months before the SCE, defined as acute coronary syndrome or stroke, and the reference period was the 6 months before the risk period. Statistical analysis was performed from September 20, 2017, to July 6, 2018.”

Key findings:

  • Of the 9290 patients exposed to ustekinumab (4847 men [52%]; mean [SD] age, 43 [14] years), 179 experienced SCEs (65 cases of acute coronary syndrome, 68 cases of unstable angina, and 46 cases of stroke).
  • Among patients with a high cardiovascular risk, a statisically significant association between initiaton of ustekinumab treatment and SCE occurrence was identified (odds ratio, 4.17; 95% CI, 1.19-14.59).
  • Conversely, no statistically significant association was found among patients with a low cardiovascular risk (odds ratio, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.03-3.13).

My take: This study suggests that the initiation of ustekinumab treatment may trigger SCEs among patients at high cardiovascular risk; however, the study conclusions are limited as this was an observational study (not a randomized trial).

“Positioning Biologic Therapies in the Management of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease” & 14% of U.S. Infected with COVID-19

J Breton et al. Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2020; 16: 400-14. Full text: Positioning Biologic Therapies in the Management of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This is a terrific summary of biologic therapies for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Compared to adults, the pediatric data is much more limited.  This may affect recommendations.  For example, recent AGA guidelines for moderate to severe ulcerative colitis in adults suggests that either ustekinumab or tofacitinib is generally preferable as a 2nd line agent rather than vedolizumab in patients with primary infliximab failure (Blog post: AGA Guidelines: Moderate to Severe Ulcerative Colitis).  In the chart below, vedolizumab is recognized as a preferred 2nd line agent.

In the section on vedolizumab:

The favorable risk-benefit profile makes vedolizumab an ideal therapeutic choice for pediatric IBD. However, an important limitation is its delayed onset of action, for which corticosteroid use as bridge therapy is often necessary in this population that is already at increased risk of growth failure and bone loss. Recently, Hamel and colleagues published their small, single-center experience of using concomitant tacrolimus between anti-TNFα withdrawal to vedolizumab maintenance as a corticosteroid-sparing bridge therapy in moderate to severe IBD (Ref: 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).

This article addresses therapeutic drug monitoring:

TDM is a key component of managing IBD patients on anti-TNFα therapy. While  reactive TDM of antiTNFα agents has been adopted by societal guidelines, there is an increasing body of literature to support the benefit of proactive TDM, particularly in pediatric populations

Conclusions from authors: Anti-TNFα agents have revolutionized the management of IBD, positively modifying the natural disease history in children. Importantly, inception cohort studies of pediatric CD and UC (RISK and PROTECT, respectively) have highlighted the variable course of disease and necessity of adopting an individualized approach with early use of biologic therapy in patients at risk of severe disease progression. 

Biologics Used in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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

 

Ustekinumab Over Vedolizumab as 2nd Line Agent for Crohn’s Disease

A recent study: Ustekinumab is associated with superior effectiveness
outcomes compared to vedolizumab in Crohn’s disease patients with prior failure to anti-TNF treatment. VBC Biemans et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2020; 52: 123-134.  Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference.

Methods: Crohn´s disease patients, who failed anti-TNF treatment and started
vedolizumab or ustekinumab in standard care as second-line biological, were
identified in the observational prospective Dutch Initiative on Crohn and
Colitis Registry.  128 vedolizumab- and 85 ustekinumab-treated patients fulfilled
the inclusion criteria. Median age in the cohorts were 37 and 39 respectively.

Key findings (at 52 weeks):

  • After adjusting for confounders, ustekinumab-treated patients were more likely to achieve corticosteroid-free clinical remission (odds ratio [OR]: 2.58, 95% CI: 1.36-4.90, P = 0.004), biochemical remission (OR: 2.34, 95% CI: 1.10-4.96, P = 0.027), and combined corticosteroid-free clinical and biochemical remission (OR: 2.74, 95% CI: 1.23-6.09, P = 0.014).
  • Safety outcomes (infections: OR: 1.26, 95% CI: 0.63-2.54, P = 0.517; adverse events: OR: 1.33, 95% CI: 0.62-2.81, P = 0.464; hospitalisations: OR: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.32-1.39, P = 0.282) were comparable between the two groups

My take: This study indicates that ustekinumab is likely a more effective 2nd line agent for Crohn’s disease.

Related blog posts: