Efficacy and Safety of Upadacitinib in a Randomized Trial of Patients With Crohn's Disease

Gastroenterology. 2020 Jun;158(8):2123-2138.e8. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.01.047. Epub 2020 Feb 8.


Background & aims: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of upadacitinib, an oral selective Janus kinase 1 inhibitor, in a randomized trial of patients with Crohn's disease (CD).

Methods: We performed a double-blind, phase 2 trial in adults with moderate to severe CD and inadequate response or intolerance to immunosuppressants or tumor necrosis factor antagonists. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1:1:1) to groups given placebo; or 3 mg, 6 mg, 12 mg, or 24 mg upadacitinib twice daily; or 24 mg upadacitinib once daily and were evaluated by ileocolonoscopy at weeks 12 or 16 of the induction period. Patients who completed week 16 were re-randomized to a 36-week period of maintenance therapy with upadacitinib. The primary endpoints were clinical remission at week 16 and endoscopic remission at week 12 or 16 using the multiple comparison procedure and modeling and the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test, with a 2-sided level of 10%.

Results: Among the 220 patients in the study, clinical remission was achieved by 13% of patients receiving 3 mg upadacitinib, 27% of patients receiving 6 mg upadacitinib (P < .1 vs placebo), 11% of patients receiving 12 mg upadacitinib, and 22% of patients receiving 24 mg upadacitinib twice daily, and by 14% of patients receiving 24 mg upadacitinib once daily, vs 11% of patients receiving placebo. Endoscopic remission was achieved by 10% (P < .1 vs placebo), 8%, 8% (P < .1 vs placebo), 22% (P < .01 vs placebo), and 14% (P < .05 vs placebo) of patients receiving upadacitinib, respectively, vs none of the patients receiving placebo. Endoscopic but not clinical remission increased with dose during the induction period. Efficacy was maintained for most endpoints through week 52. During the induction period, patients in the upadacitinib groups had higher incidences of infections and serious infections vs placebo. Patients in the twice-daily 12 mg and 24 mg upadacitinib groups had significant increases in total, high-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels compared with patients in the placebo group.

Conclusions: In a phase 2 trial of patients with CD, upadacitinib induced endoscopic remission in a significant proportion of patients compared with placebo. Upadacitinib's benefit/risk profile supports further development for treatment of CD. (Clinicaltrials.gov, Number: NCT02365649).

Keywords: CDAI; CELEST Trial; IBD; JAK Inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonoscopy
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / administration & dosage*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / adverse effects
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission Induction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors
  • upadacitinib

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02365649