Objective: To investigate the effect of infliximab on the frequency of uveitis attacks and the visual prognosis in male patients with Behçet's disease in whom uveitis was resistant to combination therapy with corticosteroids, azathioprine, and cyclosporine.
Methods: The study group comprised patients who were receiving combination therapy but experienced at least 2 attacks of posterior uveitis/panuveitis or retinal vasculitis during the 6-month period prior to enrollment. Infliximab infusions (5 mg/kg) were administered at weeks 0, 2, 6, and 14. Weeks 0-22 were defined as the infusion period, and weeks 23-54 were defined as the observation period. Patients continued to receive azathioprine and corticosteroids, but cyclosporine was discontinued after the screening visit. The primary outcome measures were the absence of uveitis attacks during the infusion period (remission), and the absence of uveitis attacks throughout the study period (sustained remission).
Results: Thirteen patients were enrolled in the study. Thirty-two uveitis attacks involving the posterior segment occurred during the previous-treatment period. During the infusion period, 4 patients (30.8%) remained attack-free, and 9 patients had a total of 13 uveitis attacks. Ten of these attacks (76.9%) occurred at either week 14 or week 22. One of 13 patients fulfilled the definition of sustained remission, and the remaining 12 patients had a total of 36 uveitis attacks during the observation period. The mean number of uveitis attacks and daily corticosteroid doses were significantly lower during the infusion period than during the previous-treatment period or the observation period. Although potential visual acuity was regained following infliximab infusion, this beneficial effect was not preserved until week 54. None of the patients experienced a serious adverse event.
Conclusion: The results of this trial suggest that infliximab is effective in suppressing the occurrence of uveitis attacks, has a corticosteroid-sparing effect, and has favorable implications for the visual prognosis of patients with resistant Behçet's uveitis.