Administration of infliximab to patients with acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC) (rescue therapy) can reduce the rate of early colectomy (within 12 months), but long-term rates of colectomy are the same as those of the pre-biologic era for these patients. The half-life of infliximab is shorter in patients with ASUC than in patients with non-severe UC, so more frequent dosing might be required to produce a therapeutic effect. We performed a retrospective analysis of 50 hospitalized patients who received infliximab for steroid-refractory ASUC at a single academic center from September 2005 through 2013. In 2011 an accelerated dosing strategy for infliximab was introduced; we compared outcomes of standard and accelerated dosing regimens. One group of patients (n = 35) were placed on a standard dosing regimen for infliximab and then given the drug at 0, 2, and 6 weeks and then every 8 weeks thereafter. A second group (n = 15) were placed on an accelerated regimen and received 3 induction doses of infliximab within a median period of 24 days. Rates of colectomy were compared between the groups during induction and follow-up periods. There were no differences between groups in median baseline levels of C-reactive protein, albumin, or hemoglobin. The rate of colectomy during induction therapy was significantly lower with the accelerated regimen (6.7%, 1 of 15) than with the standard regimen (40%, 14 of 35) (Fisher exact test, P = .039). The standard regimen was associated with shorter time to colectomy (log-rank test, P = .042). Among patients who completed induction therapy, subsequent need for colectomy was similar between the groups during the follow-up period. Multivariate analysis showed that factors independently associated with successful induction therapy were level of albumin (g/L) when the treatment began (P = .003) and the accelerated dosing regimen (P = .03). In patients with ASUC, an accelerated infliximab induction strategy reduces the need for early colectomy. An intensified infliximab dosing strategy in response to clinical or laboratory signs of breakthrough inflammation merits consideration in prospective studies.
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