Background: The use of combination immunosuppressive agents is associated with reports of pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP). The aim of this study was to determine practice patterns among gastroenterology providers for PJP prophylaxis in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on immunosuppressive therapy.
Methods: An internet-based survey of 14 questions was sent through e-mail to a random sampling of 4000 gastroenterologists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants between November 2011 and February 2012. Three reminder e-mails were sent to providers who had not completed the survey.
Results;: The invitation e-mail that contained the link to the survey was clicked by 504 providers and the completed surveys were returned by 123 of them (78% physicians, 11% nurse practitioners, 11% physician assistants). The response rate was 24.4%. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents had managed >25 patients with IBD in the past year, with as much as one-third of all respondents managing >100 patients. Eight percent of the respondents reported patients who had developed PJP on immunosuppressive therapy, 11% reported initiating PJP prophylaxis, mostly for patients on triple immunosuppressive therapy. Prescription of PJP prophylaxis was not significantly associated with the number of years in practice or the number of IBD patients treated. However, providers with patients that had developed PJP were 7.4 times more likely to prescribe prophylaxis (P = 0.01). In addition, providers in academic centers were 4 times more likely to initiate PJP prophylaxis than those in nonacademic centers (P = 0.03). The most common reasons for not prescribing PJP prophylaxis included the absence of guidelines on the benefits of prophylaxis, lack of personal experience with PJP, and the lack of knowledge on the need for prophylaxis in patients with IBD on combination immunosuppressive therapy.
Conclusions: The lack of guidelines seems to influence the decision on not to prescribe PJP prophylaxis in patients with IBD. Additional studies are needed to determine PJP risk factors and risks and benefits of prophylaxis.