Background and aims: The growing incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children necessitates the use of biological treatments. Recently, an infliximab biosimilar was authorized in the European Union, which may result in switching patients. We present our preliminary experiences with such switches.
Methods: The prospective study included 32 paediatric patients diagnosed with Crohn's disease (CD) and 7 children with ulcerative colitis (UC) at 3 academic hospitals, who were switched from infliximab originator to its biosimilar (Remsima). Patient characteristics, disease severity, laboratory parameters and adverse events were recorded. Means, medians and ranges were calculated.
Results: Mean age at diagnosis of CD and UC was 11.1 (2.7-15.3) and 12.3 years (8.5-14.8), respectively. Mean number of infliximab originator infusions before switching to the biosimilar was 9.9 (median 8, range 4-29) and 5.1 (5, 1-12) for the CD and UC group, respectively. Evaluation efficacy of last biosimilar doses of all patients revealed rates of clinical remission of 88 and 57% for CD and UC patients, respectively. Last follow-up assessment of patients who continued with biosimilar therapy showed that 16/20 (80%) CD patients and all 4 UC individuals were in remission. One infusion reaction to infliximab biosimilar was observed in a CD patient, which led to treatment discontinuation. The incidence of sporadic mild adverse events prior to and after switching did not differ significantly and was consistent with the safety profile of the infliximab molecule.
Conclusion: Switching from infliximab originator to its biosimilar seems to be a safe option in children with CD. After the switch the biosimilar was just as effective as the originator.
Keywords: Biosimilar; inflammatory bowel disease; infliximab; paediatric.
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