Background: Infliximab is effective for induction and maintenance of remission in reproductive age men with Crohn's disease. There is no available data on the effects of infliximab on semen quality. The aim of this study was to determine whether changes in semen quality occurred in men receiving infliximab.
Methods: In this prospective study, each patient served as his own control. Patients completed general health and fertility questionnaires and were assessed for disease activity. Two semen analyses were completed before infusion with infliximab and 1 semen analysis was completed 1 week after infusion. Mean semen parameters before infusion were compared with postinfusion parameters by paired t tests.
Results: Ten men completed the study. Seven were on maintenance infliximab (group 1) and 3 were receiving a first dose (group 2). Seven had Crohn's disease, 2 had indeterminate colitis, and 1 had ulcerative colitis. All group 1 patients were in remission. Group 2 patients had moderate or severe disease. In comparing pre- and postinfusion semen parameters in all 10 patients, there was a significant increase in semen volume (P = 0.013) after infusion with infliximab and a trend toward decreased sperm motility (P = 0.061). Group 1 had a significant increase in semen volume after infusion (P = 0.039) and a significant decrease in normal oval forms after infusion (P = 0.038). In comparing group 1 and group 2, there was a significant difference in sperm progression.
Conclusions: Infliximab therapy in men may decrease sperm motility and the number of normal oval forms. Whether these findings translate into impaired fertility is an area for further study.