Background: It may be possible to achieve more effective management of Crohn's Disease by introducing a flexible dosage regimen sensitive to patients' needs.
Aim: Comparison of the efficacy and tolerability of a fixed vs. flexible budesonide controlled ileal release treatment regimen for the prevention and management of relapse in Crohn's disease patients. Budesonide controlled ileal release is an oral formulation which delivers drug directly to disease sites in the ileum and ascending colon, by preventing more proximal release and absorption.
Methods: A randomized, double-blind comparison of a fixed dose of budesonide controlled ileal release (6 mg o.m.) and a flexible dose of budesonide controlled ileal release (3, 6 or 9 mg o.m.) for 12 months, in 143 patients in remission from ileal or ileo-caecal Crohn's Disease.
Results: Very low rates of clinical relapse in Crohn's disease were achieved with budesonide controlled ileal release 6 mg o.m. There was no significant difference between the treatment groups with respect to the survival estimate of percentage of treatment failures (flexible group 15%, fixed group 19%; P=0.61). The average consumed dose of budesonide was comparable in both groups (5.8 mg flexible, 6.0 mg fixed). Similar proportions of patients reported adverse events (flexible 100%, fixed 97%). There were 33 serious adverse events (flexible 19, fixed 14) and 13 withdrawals due to significant adverse events (flexible 9, fixed 4).
Conclusion: Maintenance treatment with budesonide controlled ileal release 6 mg o.m. is well-tolerated and is associated with low rates of clinical relapse in stable Crohn's disease over 12 months. Flexible dosing remains an option for individual patients, but this study has shown no advantage over a standard fixed dosing regimen.