Efficacy and complications of adalimumab treatment for medically-refractory Crohn’s disease: analysis of nationwide experience in Scotland (2004–2008)


Dr G.-T. Ho, Gastrointestinal Unit, Molecular Medicine Centre, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.
E-mail: gwotzerho@aol.co.uk


Background  Adalimumab is a second generation humanized anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) monoclonal antibody with established efficacy in Crohn’s disease (CD).

Aims  To evaluate the efficacy and safety of adalimumab on a nationwide clinical setting.

Methods  We used the Scottish Society of Gastroenterology network to identify and follow up the clinical outcomes of patients with CD treated with adalimumab over a 4-year period (2004–2008).

Results  A total of 98 patients received adalimumab - 100.5 patient follow-up years were recorded (64.3% females; median age at diagnosis of 20.7 years; 88.8% treated with 80/40 mg induction regimen. Eighty eight (89.8%) had previous infliximab with 29 (32.9%) primary nonresponders; 32 (32.6%) were corticosteroid-dependent; 47 (47.9%) were intolerant/resistant to most immunosuppressive therapies (two or more). In all, 60% of patients were in clinical remission at 1-year follow-up, with 30% and 55% requiring dose escalation to weekly therapy at 1-and 2-year follow-up respectively. Overall, 29 (29.6%) patients developed complications with eight nonfatal serious (8.2%) adverse events and 2 (2.0%) case fatalities (sepsis following perforation and disseminated colorectal cancer, respectively).

Conclusions  Adalimumab is efficacious in severe and refractory CD in the clinical setting, although there remain significant therapy- and disease-related risks of serious complications.