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Safety of infliximab in Crohn's disease: A large single-center experience

Hamzaoglu, H. MD1,*; Cooper, J. MD1; Alsahli, M. MD1; Falchuk, K. R. MD1; Peppercorn, M. A. MD1; Farrell, R. J. MD1

doi: 10.1002/ibd.21290
Original Clinical Articles: Safety of Infliximab in CD: Original Article

Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the short- and long-term safety experience of infliximab treatment in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) in clinical practice.

Methods: The medical records of 297 consecutive patients with CD treated with infliximab at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center were reviewed for demographic features and adverse events.

Results: The 297 patients received a total of 1794 infusions. Patients received a median of four infusions and had a median follow-up of 14.3 months. Forty-four patients (15%) experienced a serious adverse event, requiring the infusion to be stopped in 33 patients (11%). Acute infusion reactions occurred in 18 patients (6%) including respiratory problems in 10 patients (3%) and an anaphylactoid reaction in 1 patient (0.3%). Serum sickness-like disease occurred in one patient (0.3%) and three patients (1%) developed drug-induced lupus. One patient developed a probable new demyelination disorder. Eight patients (2.7%), all of whom were on concurrent immunosuppressants, developed a serious infection, one resulting in fatal sepsis. Six patients (2%) developed malignancies including two lymphomas and two skin cancers. A total of four (1.3%) deaths were observed (median age 72.5 years); two due to gastrointestinal bleeding, one due to sepsis, and one due to malignancy.

Conclusions: While short- and long-term infliximab therapy was generally well tolerated, serious adverse events occurred in 15% of patients including drug-induced lupus, fatal sepsis, and malignancy. Concomitant immunosuppressants were significantly associated with infections and deaths, particularly among elderly patients. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2010)

1Department of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

*Reprints: Department of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215


Received for publication 8 February 2010; Accepted 24 February 2010.

Published online 12 April 2010 in Wiley Online Library (

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.
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