Infliximab to treat Crohn’s disease: an update
M Cottone, V Criscuoli
Biomedical Department of Internal and Specialist Medicine, Division of Medicine, Villa Sofia-V Cervello Hospital, Palermo University, Palermo, Italy
Abstract: Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by recurring flares followed by periods of inactive disease and remission. The etiology is unknown, although the common opinion is that the disease arises from a disordered immune response to the gut contents in genetically predisposed individuals. Infliximab (IFX), a chimeric immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody to tumor necrosis factor, has dramatically changed the approach to managing patients with CD and improving their treatment, by achieving treatment goals, such as mucosal healing, and decreasing the need for hospitalizations and surgeries. This review provides an update on existing evidence for the use of IFX in CD, taking into account the safety profile in clinical practice and special situations such as pregnancy. Antitumor necrosis factor therapy has been evaluated as an induction and maintenance therapy in CD in several randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses, showing efficacy in both clinical settings. Early use of biologics may improve patient outcomes in active CD. However, a widespread use of a “top-down” approach in all CD patients cannot be recommended. Clinical factors at diagnosis may predict poor outcome in CD, and should be taken into account when determining the initial therapeutic approach.
Keywords: Crohn’s disease, infliximab, adult
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