Maintenance of remission among patients with Crohn's disease on antimetabolite therapy after infliximab therapy is stopped.

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège, Liège, Belgium.
Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 12.82). 09/2011; 142(1):63-70.e5; quiz e31. DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.09.034
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT It is important to determine whether infliximab therapy can be safely interrupted in patients with Crohn's disease who have undergone a period of prolonged remission. We assessed the risk of relapse after infliximab therapy was discontinued in patients on combined maintenance therapy with antimetabolites and identified factors associated with relapse.
We performed a prospective study of 115 patients with Crohn's disease who were treated for at least 1 year with scheduled infliximab and an antimetabolite and had been in corticosteroid-free remission for at least 6 months. Infliximab was stopped, and patients were followed up for at least 1 year. We associated demographic, clinical, and biologic factors with time to relapse using a Cox model.
After a median follow-up period of 28 months, 52 of the 115 patients experienced a relapse; the 1-year relapse rate was 43.9% ± 5.0%. Based on multivariable analysis, risk factors for relapse included male sex, the absence of surgical resection, leukocyte counts >6.0 × 10(9)/L, and levels of hemoglobin ≤145 g/L, C-reactive protein ≥5.0 mg/L, and fecal calprotectin ≥300 μg/g. Patients with no more than 2 of these risk factors (approximately 29% of the study population) had a 15% risk of relapse within 1 year. Re-treatment with infliximab was effective and well tolerated in 88% of patients who experienced a relapse.
Approximately 50% of patients with Crohn's disease who were treated for at least 1 year with infliximab and an antimetabolite agent experienced a relapse within 1 year after discontinuation of infliximab. However, patients with a low risk of relapse can be identified using a combination of clinical and biologic markers.

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