Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of thalidomide for treating troublesome cases of pediatric Crohn's disease (CD) with tuberculosis infection.
Methods: A retrospective study of clinical outcome among children treated with thalidomide was conducted. All patients had evidence of tuberculosis infection with a failure of anti-tuberculosis treatment for more than one year, and were subsequently diagnosed with CD. All the patients received thalidomide treatment with a starting dose of 1.2-2.5 mg/kg per day. Remission was defined as pediatric CD activity index less than or equal to 10.
Results: Ten patients with CD were treated with thalidomide at an average age of 7.2 years and followed up for a median of 22.2 mo. Clinical remission rate was 60% after 9-12 mo of thalidomide treatment. One patient with no response had an interleukin-10 receptor alpha gene mutation. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein and platelet count showed a dramatic decrease; hemoglobin level and weight improved significantly after thalidomide treatment when compared with the baseline values.
Conclusion: Thalidomide is an effective and safe drug for remission of CD in pediatric patients who have been treated for tuberculosis.
Keywords: Anti- tubercular treatment; Children; Inflammatory bowel disease; Intestinal tuberculosis; Thalidomide.