Background: Switches between anti–tumor necrosis factor agents in the treatment of Crohn's disease (CD) occur in case of treatment failure, intolerance, or patient preference. No data are currently available on the usefulness of a second infliximab treatment after earlier discontinuation and previous switch to an alternative anti–tumor necrosis factor agent. In this study, we evaluated the clinical benefit of infliximab retreatment in patients with CD after sequential use of both infliximab and adalimumab.
Methods: Twenty-nine patients with CD who had received earlier treatments with sequential infliximab and adalimumab and were then restarted on infliximab were retrieved from a multicenter registry designed for the follow-up of adalimumab treatment for CD. Short-term and sustained effects of infliximab retreatment were evaluated retrospectively by reviewing clinical records. Follow-up was 18 months for all patients.
Results: In 13/29 (45%) patients, infliximab was reintroduced at intensified dosing schedule (>5 mg/kg or <8 wk) for 23/29 (79%) of patients similar to the schedule who were on at time of previous discontinuation. During the second infliximab treatment course, dosing was further intensified in 11 out of 29 (38%) patients. After 18 months 18/29 (62%), patients were still on continued therapy of their second infliximab treatment. Infliximab was discontinued (after a median of 7 mo) in 11 out of 29 patients for loss of response (n = 7 [24%]), intolerance (n = 3 [10%]), or non-compliance (n = 1 [3%]). Use of induction schedule or concomitant immunomodulators were not significantly associated with treatment benefit.
Conclusions: The majority of patients with CD benefit from a second treatment with infliximab after previous treatment with infliximab and adalimumab, which offer a meaningful therapeutic option in often highly refractory patients.