Background: The majority of children with Crohn disease (CD) are likely to need some form of immunomodulatory therapy to maintain remission and to avoid long-term corticosteroid usage. Although thiopurine agents are commonly used, some children are unresponsive or intolerant to these drugs. Biological agents like infliximab are being increasingly used in these circumstances, but long-term safety has yet to be established. Methotrexate has been shown to induce and maintain remission in CD in many adult studies, but pediatric data are limited. The present report describes our experience of using methotrexate in CD in children.
Patients and Methods: All children with CD treated with methotrexate were identified by the departmental database. Case records were reviewed for site of disease, Pediatric Crohn Disease Activity Index, medications, time to achieve remission, duration of remission, and complications.
Results: A total of 10 children received methotrexate, 7 of whom were female and 3 of whom were male. All of the children had colonic involvement and had active disease despite previous standard medical treatments. Seven children exhibited remission with methotrexate treatment. Median time to achieve remission was 12 weeks and median duration of remission was 21 months to the point of assessment. One child had transient increase of alanine aminotransferase levels and another developed neutropenia, which remitted with dose reduction. None needed discontinuation of methotrexate treatment.
Conclusions: Methotrexate is effective and well tolerated in children with CD. It should be considered in those patients who do not experience a remission with standard medications because it may avoid the use of biological agents and their potential uncertain long-term side effects.
Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol, UK
Received 19 June, 2006
Accepted 19 December, 2006
Address correspondence and reprint requests to C.H. Spray, MD, Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol BS2 8BJ, UK (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).