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Safety of Infliximab Treatment in Pediatric Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Friesen, Craig A.; Calabro, Cheryl; Christenson, Kathy; Carpenter, Ellen; Welchert, Eleanor; Daniel, James F.; Haslag, Sara; Roberts, Charles C.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: September 2004 - Volume 39 - Issue 3 - pp 265-269
Original Articles

Background: Infliximab appears to be efficacious in the treatment of pediatric Crohn disease (CD). There are few large-scale pediatric studies on the complications of infliximab therapy.

Methods: A retrospective review of all infliximab infusions administered to IBD patients at a tertiary children’s hospital was undertaken. Data was obtained from an infliximab infusion database maintained in the section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, pharmacy records and patient charts.

Results: 594 infusions were administered to 111 IBD patients (88 CD and 23 UC; 55 male and 56 female; ages 4 to 20 years; mean age, 13.4 years). The number of infusions ranged from 1 to 24 with a mean of 5.4/patient. Infusion reactions occurred in 8.1% of patients (seven early and two delayed) and in 1.5% of all infusions. Reactions occurred more frequently in female patients (14% versus 2%; P = 0.03). All reactions were mild and responded rapidly to treatment. Four patients had infections deemed unusual, including three cutaneous tinea infections and one case of shingles.

Conclusion: Infliximab is safe in pediatric IBD patients with a low incidence of generally mild reactions that respond rapidly to intervention. Infusion reactions are more common in female patients. Our patients had no serious infectious complications, although cutaneous tinea infection may represent a newly reported associated complication.

Section of Gastroenterology, The Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics, Kansas City, Missouri

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Craig A. Friesen, MD, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics, 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108 (e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.