Background: Loss of response (LOR) to infliximab (IFX) has become an important clinical issue for patients with Crohn's disease (CD). Elemental diet (ED) therapy has been established as a nutrition therapy for CD in Japan. ED therapy can reduce antigen exposure and is both efficacious and safe.
Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of concomitant ED therapy in maintaining regular IFX infusion in patients with CD.
Methods: We retrospectively studied 125 patients with luminal CD treated with scheduled IFX maintenance therapy with a regular dosage. Patients were classified into two groups: the ED group with intake ≥ 900 kcal/day and the non-ED group with intake <900 kcal/day. When clinical LOR was detected on the basis of disease activity, laboratory parameters, or endoscopic findings, the physician discontinued the infusion schedule of IFX. We investigated the efficacy of ED therapy for sustaining the scheduled IFX maintenance therapy.
Results: With the exception of ED intake, no significant differences were found in patient characteristics between the ED group and the non-ED group. The ED group was significantly superior to the non-ED group (p = 0.049) in sustaining scheduled IFX maintenance therapy. It is well known that ED therapy is more effective for small bowel lesions than colonic lesions in CD. When comparing ileitis and ileocolitis patients with CD, the ED group was significantly superior to the non-ED group (p = 0.015).
Conclusions: Concomitant ED therapy is effective in maintaining scheduled IFX maintenance therapy in patients with luminal CD in order to prevent LOR.