Background & aims: We evaluated etanercept, a human soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor: Fc fusion protein, for the treatment of active Crohn's disease.
Methods: Forty-three patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease were enrolled in an 8-week placebo-controlled trial. Patients were randomized to subcutaneous etanercept 25 mg or placebo twice weekly. The primary outcome measure was clinical response at week 4, defined as a decrease in the baseline Crohn's Disease Activity Index score > or =70 points or a Crohn's Disease Activity Index score <150 points.
Results: At week 4, 39% of etanercept-treated patients had clinical response as compared with 45% of placebo-treated patients (P = 0.763). The frequency of common adverse events including headache, new injection site reaction, asthenia, abdominal pain, Crohn's disease-related anemia, and skin disorders was similar in both groups. Likewise, the frequency of severe or serious adverse events was similar in both groups.
Conclusions: Subcutaneous etanercept at a dose of 25 mg twice weekly is safe, but not effective, for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease. The dose of etanercept administered in this study is that approved for rheumatoid arthritis. Higher doses or more frequent dosing may be required to attain a response in patients with active Crohn's disease.