Background & aims: Infliximab, an anti-tumor necrosis factor monoclonal antibody, rapidly reduces signs and symptoms of active Crohn's disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether repeated infusions of infliximab would effectively and safely maintain the remitting benefit.
Methods: The efficacy, safety, pharmacokinetics, and immunogenicity of 4 repeated treatments with 10 mg/kg infliximab given every 8 weeks were compared with the effects of placebo in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial. Seventy-three patients with active Crohn's disease who had not adequately responded to conventional therapies and then had demonstrated a clinical response (>/=70-point decrease in the Crohn's Disease Activity Index) to an initial infusion of infliximab (or placebo) were studied.
Results: Retreatment with infliximab maintained the clinical benefit through the retreatment period and 8 weeks after the last infusion in nearly all patients retreated with infliximab. Median values for Crohn's Disease Activity Index, inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (a quality of life measurement), and serum C-reactive protein concentration were maintained at remission levels with infliximab retreatment, but not with placebo retreatment. Retreatment with infliximab every 8 weeks maintained serum infliximab concentration and was well tolerated with a low incidence of immunogenicity. One case of lymphoma and 1 case of suspected lupus were reported; the complete long-term safety profile of infliximab requires additional clinical investigation.
Conclusions: Long-term treatment with infliximab showed efficacy and tolerability in managing symptoms of patients with active Crohn's disease not responding to conventional treatments.