Background: Infliximab is used for treatment of Crohn's disease and, following the Active Ulcerative Colitis Trials (ACT) 1 and 2, it has been used as rescue and maintenance therapy in moderate and severe ulcerative colitis (UC).
Aim: To report on English experience with maintenance infliximab in terms of response and colectomy rates and side-effect profile in UC.
Methods: A retrospective audit conducted by using a web-based questionnaire filled in by 12 gastroenterologists from six English centres.
Results: Of the 38 patients receiving induction with infliximab, 28 (73.6%) maintained an ongoing response (8-weekly infusions 5 mg/kg) for a mean duration of 16.8 months (range 4-59), with 21 (55.3%) being in remission. Three of 38 patients (7.9%) who also responded had a secondary loss of response after an average of 10 months (range 8-13); seven of 38 patients (18.4%) showed no response. The colectomy rate was seven of 38 (18.4%, five non-responders and two with secondary loss of response). Adverse effects occurred in five patients (13.2%). Two discontinued infliximab (alopecia, invasive breast cancer). The three less-severe adverse effects were acute and delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions and one persistent otitis media.
Conclusion: Our experience suggests acceptable response rates, colectomy rates and side-effect profile of maintenance therapy with infliximab in moderate and severe UC.