SAN DIEGO – Inpatient infliximab rescue for severe, steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis is more likely to work if patients receive a second infusion 3 days after the first, according to a review of 55 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, patients.
The traditional approach is one inpatient 5-mg/kg infusion, followed by either colectomy or subsequent outpatient infusions, depending on response. In 2013, physicians at the university began offering a second infusion at 72 hours to patients whose C-reactive protein (CRP) levels did not drop below 0.7 mg/dL after their first infusion, and they also began opting more often for 10-mg/kg dosing.
The review found that 90-day colectomy-free survival was 50% in the 16 accelerated-dosing patients, up from 10.2% in the 36 patients treated with the traditional approach (P less than .001). The finding has led to a new, more aggressive infliximab protocol for inpatient ulcerative colitis.
Among patients who did undergo colectomies, postoperative complications were similar between the two groups. But for reasons that are not clear, 30-day postoperative readmission rates were higher in accelerated patients (58% vs. 25%).
In an interview at the annual Digestive Disease Week, lead investigator Dr. Shail Govani of the University of Michigan explained the thinking behind the new approach, how CRP/albumin ratios come into play, and how to counsel patients in light of the findings.