Objective: Various therapies have been studied for the treatment of Crohn's disease, including antimycobacterial therapy. Meta-analysis was used to evaluate the effect of antimycobacterial therapy in patients with Crohn's disease.
Methods: Randomized, controlled trials comparing antimycobacterial therapy with placebo were identified. Key outcome data were abstracted and the results were pooled to yield odds ratios for maintenance of remission in treated versus control groups.
Results: A total of eight randomized trials were identified. Six trials were fully published and were included in the primary analysis. Two trials used antimycobacterial therapy in combination with corticosteroids to induce remission in patients with active Crohn's disease, followed by maintenance therapy with antimycobacterial agents. In these trials, control patients received corticosteroids to induce remission but no antimycobacterial therapy. Pooling of these trials yielded an odds ratio of maintenance of remission in treatment versus control of 3.37 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38-8.24) in favor of antimycobacterial therapy. The remaining four trials used antimycobacterial therapy combined with standard therapy in patients with Crohn's disease. In these trials, control patients received standard therapy alone. Pooling of these trials yielded an odds ratio of maintenance of remission in treatment versus control of 0.69 (95% CI, 0.39-1.21) in favor of standard therapy.
Conclusions: These results suggest that antimycobacterial therapy is effective in maintaining remission in patients with Crohn's disease after a course of corticosteroids combined with antimycobacterial therapy to induce remission. Treatment of Crohn's disease with antimycobacterial therapy does not seem to be effective without a course of corticosteroids to induce remission. Because of the small number of studies included in this meta-analysis, the results should be interpreted with caution.