Repeat injections of infliximab (Remicade) can be effective for the long-term management of Crohn disease, a recent study indicates.
Researchers gave an injection of infliximab to 573 people with Crohn disease; 335 (58%) of them responded positively within two weeks. The researchers randomized these 335 patients to receive an injection of placebo, 5 mg/kg of infliximab, or 10 mg/kg of Remicade. Patients received their assigned injections at weeks 2 and 6 and then every 8 weeks until week 46.
By week 30, remission of symptoms occurred in 39% and 45% of people in the 5 and 10 mg/kg Remicade groups, respectively, compared with 21%
of those in the placebo group. Results were similar at week 54. Also at week 54, discontinuance of corticosteroids was possible in three times as many people in the infliximab groups as in the placebo group. The most common side effects of Remicade were headache, abdominal pain, and upper respiratory tract infection.
Although Remicade is generally safe, one of the most dangerous potential side effects is tuberculosis, which has occurred in 101 of the approximately 175,000 people worldwide who have received infliximab. To reduce this risk, doctors should test for exposure to tuberculosis and treat patients who test positive before prescribing infliximab, the authors write.
Article written by: THE LANCET Volume 359, page 1541 May 4, 2002
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