Infliximab is an established treatment for steroid-resistant and fistulating Crohn's disease. Although efficacy has been shown in clinical trials, financial implications often limit its use and limited data exist regarding clinical practice.
Aims: To audit the clinical effectiveness of Infliximab.
Methods: We prospectively audited 50 consecutive patients [28 females; median age, 34 years (17-70 years)]. Disease activity and response rates were assessed by the Harvey-Bradshaw index. Clinical and disease data were collected and blood was taken for inflammatory markers, complement and double-stranded DNA antibodies. Patients received Infliximab at 5 mg/kg and were followed for 12 weeks.
Results: Indications for Infliximab were refractory Crohn's disease in 39 patients, fistulating Crohn's disease in six, pyoderma gangrenosum in one, pouchitis in two and coeliac disease in two. Thirty-one (79%) of the refractory Crohn's disease patients and four (66%) of the fistulating patients responded at 4 weeks. Twenty-one (54%) of the refractory Crohn's disease patients had a continued response at 12 weeks. Perianal disease was more prevalent in non-responders (7/8 vs. 12/31, P < 0.02).
Conclusions: Response rates to Infliximab in our group are comparable to those of clinical trials. Despite the expense, it remains a useful adjunct to treatment in this otherwise difficult group of patients. Patients with perianal disease responded less well in our cohort.