Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2010; 32: 1007–1016


Background  About 30–50% of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) develop fistulae, implying significant disease burden and complicated clinical management.

Aim  To assess appropriate use of therapy for fistulizing CD patients enrolled in the Swiss Inflammatory Bowel Disease Cohort using criteria developed by the European Panel on the Appropriateness of Crohn’s disease Therapy.

Methods  Specific questionnaires were used to gather information on disease and its management. We assessed appropriateness of therapy at enrolment for adult CD patients with one or several fistulae.

Results  Two hundred and eighty-eight CD patients had fistulizing disease, of which 80% had complex fistulae and 32% currently had active draining fistulae. Mean age (s.d.) at diagnosis was 27 years (11), 51% males. Of the patients, 78% were judged as having globally an appropriate therapy, which was more often given for complex fistulae (87%) than for simple fistulae (67%). Antibiotics, azathioprine/MP, methotrexate and conservative surgery were almost always appropriate. Anti-tumor necrosis factor α was considered globally appropriate (91%), although most often with an uncertain indication. The 5ASA compounds, steroids and aggressive surgery were most often inappropriate (84%, 58% and 86% respectively).

Conclusions  Formal appropriateness criteria for CD therapy were applied to a national cohort of IBD patients. For more than three-quarters of the patients with fistulizing CD, therapy was globally appropriate.