Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy is an important treatment option for management of active Crohn's disease (CD) and is labeled for use after failure of conventional therapy (step-up). However, there is debate on the introduction of anti-TNF agents earlier in the treatment strategy (top-down) to potentially improve clinical outcomes. The aim of this study was to determine if a top-down approach with anti-TNF therapy is associated with improved outcomes for patients with active CD.
Claims data were from adult patients with CD with continuous enrollment in the same health plan for ≥6 months prior to the initial diagnostic claim for CD, ≥12 months after their initial anti-TNF claim, and with ≥1 anti-TNF claims after their initial diagnosis for CD.
Three patient groups were identified: The Step-Up group used 5-aminosalicylates and/or corticosteroids prior to anti-TNF; the immunosuppression (IS)-to-TNF inhibitor group used IS prior to anti-TNF therapy; the Early-TNF group initiated anti-TNF therapy within 30 days of the first prescription for CD. Response to anti-TNF therapy was determined up to 24 months following anti-TNF initiation by concomitant corticosteroid use, CD surgery, anti-TNF dose escalation, and anti-TNF discontinuation/switch. A top-down approach to anti-TNF therapy was associated with a lower risk of concomitant corticosteroid use, anti-TNF dose escalation, discontinuation/switch of anti-TNF, and CD-related surgery compared with the step-up and IS-to-TNF therapy approaches.
These “real-world” data show that a top-down approach to anti-TNF therapy in CD is associated with reductions in loss of response and fewer surgeries than conventional step-wise management. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012;)