Background and objective: Infliximab appears to be efficacious for the treatment of recalcitrant forms of sarcoidosis. However, there are minimal data concerning the course of sarcoidosis once infliximab is discontinued.
Methods: Clinical outcomes in patients who had received infliximab and had discontinued it for at least 2 months were analysed retrospectively. The severity of involvement of the index organ from the time of discontinuation of infliximab was compared with that at the end of the follow-up period.
Results: Fourteen patients with sarcoidosis who had been treated with infliximab and had discontinued this therapy were identified. Before discontinuation of infliximab, 9 of the 14 patients (64%) responded to infliximab treatment and only one (7%) deteriorated. Patients who discontinued infliximab were followed for a mean of 12 months. At the end of the follow-up period, 12 of the 14 patients (86%) had deteriorated as compared with their status at the time of discontinuation of infliximab and two (14%) had remained stable. Kaplan-Meier analysis of time to clinical deterioration showed that half the patients deteriorated within 3 months of discontinuing infliximab. Patients who had discontinued infliximab appeared to be more likely to have their dose of prednisone increased.
Conclusion: Patients with recalcitrant sarcoidosis who receive infliximab appear likely to deteriorate after discontinuation of this medication.