From the AGA Journals

CAG Clinical Practice Guideline: Luminal Crohn’s disease



The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology has released a new clinical practice guideline for the treatment of luminal Crohn’s disease (CD) in adults.

“In the last decade, treatment paradigms have changed, recognizing that certain clinical parameters carry an increased risk of progressive and disabling disease,” wrote Remo Panaccione, MD, of the University of Calgary (Canada) and collaborators. Dr. Panaccione is the lead author of this practice guideline copublished in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology.

The expert consensus panel consisted of 20 voting members, including both academic and community gastroenterologists, in addition to a specialist nurse practitioner. Other nonvoting members included two GRADE experts, lay observers, and a patient representative.

The panel systematically reviewed the body of literature for studies related to the management of CD in adults. After applying the search criteria, the team found that the majority of evidence was extracted from systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized trials.

Quality of evidence and risk of bias was assessed using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation) methodology. The quality of evidence for each consensus statement was classified as either high, moderate, low, or very low, based on the methodology’s criteria.

The consensus statements were finalized at a face-to-face meeting in Toronto held in September 2016. Prior to completion, a web-based system was used to allow for anonymous voting on level of agreement for each consensus statement.

The new guideline provides evidence-based recommendations about optimal treatment approaches for patients with mild to severe active luminal CD in an ambulatory setting, with particular focus on six major drug classes, including corticosteroids, biologic therapies, immunosuppressants, 5-aminosalicylate, antibiotics, and other therapies.

The consensus group recommended against the use of 5-aminosalicylate or antibiotics as induction or maintenance treatment strategies. Alternatively, they suggested that corticosteroids, including budesonide, could be used as induction therapy, but not as maintenance therapy.

“Parenteral methotrexate was proposed for induction and maintenance therapy in patients with corticosteroid-dependent CD,” they wrote.

With respect to immunosuppressive therapy, thiopurine agents could be an appropriate option for maintenance therapy in certain low-risk patients, but were not recommended as induction therapy, according to the guideline.

In patients who fail with conventional induction therapies, Dr. Panaccione and colleagues recommended that biological treatments, including ustekinumab, vedolizumab, and anti–tumor necrosis factor agents, could be used. No consensus was reached on the concomitant use of immunosuppressants and biologics.

In recent years, an increasing amount of evidence has emphasized the importance of mucosal healing as a key goal of therapy. In particular, the use of some therapies can result in mucosal healing and symptomatic improvement in certain patients with luminal CD.

In addition, the authors explained that mucosal healing has been linked to better clinical outcomes over the short and long term. As a result, the recommendations in the guideline target complete remission, defined as both endoscopic and symptomatic remission.

“The outcome assessed in most randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has been either symptomatic remission or symptomatic response, with only more contemporary clinical trials including endoscopic outcomes,” the guideline authors wrote.

For this reason, the GRADE criteria–based quality of evidence for some of the consensus statements had to be lowered, they noted.

The panel acknowledged the importance of incorporating patient perspectives into treatment decision making; however, they reported that many gaps in clinical practice still remain.

“In many instances, factors that influence patient decisions relating to therapy choice and goals of therapy are not the same as those of the treating clinician,” they wrote. “[Current] surveys indicate a discrepancy between patient and physician treatment goals.”

In response, the guideline authors highlighted the importance of improved patient-physician collaboration and patient education.

The guideline was supported through grant funding provided by AbbVie, Janssen, Pfizer, and Takeda. The authors reported financial affiliations with AbbVie, Amgen, Baxter, Janssen, Shire, Takeda, and several others.

SOURCE: Panaccione R et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Mar 7. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2019.02.043.

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