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Summary

Background

Infliximab (IFX) therapy escalation during maintenance treatment occurs frequently in clinical practice in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Outcomes for these patients have not been described.

Aim

To describe the prevalence of, and outcomes after, IFX escalation during maintenance therapy in patients with moderate–severe UC.

Methods

Retrospective observational study of clinical outcomes in ambulatory patients with moderate–severe UC treated with maintenance IFX.

Results

Fifty-six ambulatory patients received IFX for moderate–severe UC; fifty (89%) responded and proceeded to maintenance therapy. Mean duration of maintenance therapy was 14 months, with mean follow-up of 38 months. Twenty-seven patients (54%) required IFX therapy escalation after a mean of six maintenance infusions. Clinical remission was noted in 36% of the entire cohort (18/50) at 12 months; 19% in the escalation group and 56% in the non-escalation group. Patients who required IFX escalation were less likely to be in clinical remission at 12 months (OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.1–0.6, P = 0.01) when compared with those who did not. During the follow-up period, 27% of patients required a colectomy, and the mean time to colectomy was 17 months. Patients in the escalation group required a colectomy in 33% of cases, compared with 21% of non-escalation patients.

Conclusions

A significant proportion of ambulatory patients with UC treated with maintenance infliximab required therapy escalation over time. This was associated with lower remission, and higher colectomy, rates.