Diminishing Effectiveness of Long-Term Maintenance Topical Steroid Therapy in PPI Non-Responsive Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Clin Transl Gastroenterol. 2017 Jun 15;8(6):e97. doi: 10.1038/ctg.2017.27.


Objectives: While topical corticosteroids are first-line therapy for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), the data regarding long-term effectiveness are lacking. We aimed to determine long-term histologic and endoscopic outcomes of maintenance therapy in EoE steroid responders.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of adults with EoE at UNC Hospitals who had initial histologic response (<15 eos/hpf) after 8 weeks of topical steroids, and maintained on therapy. Endoscopic and the histologic data were recorded at baseline and follow-up endoscopies. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess loss of treatment response by steroid dose at recurrence, and Kaplan-Meier analysis to calculate durability of disease remission.

Results: Of 55 EoE patients with initial response to swallowed/topical fluticasone or budesonide over a median 11.7 months, 33 had at least two follow-up EGDs. Of these patients, 61% had histologic loss of response and worse endoscopic findings. There was no difference in baseline steroid dose (P=0.55) between the groups, but those maintained on their initial dose had lower odds (OR: 0.10; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.90) of loss of response compared to those who had subsequent dose reduction. On survival analysis, 50% had loss of response to steroids by 18.5 months and 75% by 29.6 months.

Conclusions: In adult EoE steroid responders, loss of treatment response is common, and is associated with a steroid dose reduction. Routinely lowering doses for maintenance steroids may provide inferior outcomes.