First-line treatment with infliximab versus conventional treatment
In children with newly diagnosed moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease.
Objective In newly diagnosed paediatric patients with moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease (CD), infliximab (IFX) is initiated once exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN), corticosteroid and immunomodulator therapies have failed. We aimed to investigate whether starting first-line IFX (FL-IFX) is more effective to achieve and maintain remission than conventional treatment.
Design In this multicentre open-label randomised controlled trial, untreated patients with a new diagnosis of CD (3–17 years old, weighted Paediatric CD Activity Index score (wPCDAI) >40) were assigned to groups that received five infusions of 5 mg/kg IFX at weeks 0, 2, 6, 14 and 22 (FL-IFX), or EEN or oral prednisolone (1 mg/kg, maximum 40 mg) (conventional). The primary outcome was clinical remission on azathioprine, defined as a wPCDAI <12.5 at week 52, without need for treatment escalation, using intention-to-treat analysis.
Results 100 patients were included, 50 in the FL-IFX group and 50 in the conventional group. Four patients did not receive treatment as per protocol. At week 10, a higher proportion of patients in the FL-IFX group than in the conventional group achieved clinical (59% vs 34%, respectively, p=0.021) and endoscopic remission (59% vs 17%, respectively, p=0.001). At week 52, the proportion of patients in clinical remission was not significantly different (p=0.421). However, 19/46 (41%) patients in the FL-IFX group were in clinical remission on azathioprine monotherapy without need for treatment escalation vs 7/48 (15%) in the conventional group (p=0.004).
Conclusions FL-IFX was superior to conventional treatment in achieving short-term clinical and endoscopic remission, and had greater likelihood of maintaining clinical remission at week 52 on azathioprine monotherapy.
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