Meta-analysis: rapid infliximab infusions are safe

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Infliximab is typically administered intravenously via 2- to 3-h duration infusions. Infusions are time-consuming and costly. Shorter duration infusions are administered at some centres. Limited safety data are available on shorter duration infusions.


To determine risk of infusion reaction associated with standard 2- to 3-h infusions vs. rapid infusions in patients receiving infliximab therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, spondylarthopathy and psoriatic disease.


MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science were searched. Inclusion required human subjects, documentation of number of standard and rapid infliximab infusions and number of incident infusion reactions. Studies of overlapping populations were excluded. Three reviewers independently extracted data. Study quality was assessed. Relative risk (RR) was pooled using random effects models.


We identified 10 studies comprising 13 147 standard 2- to 3-h and 8497 ≤ 1-h infliximab infusions. Nine studies reported the risk of infusion reaction in standard vs. 1-h infusions, demonstrating decreased RR of infusion reaction with 1-h vs. standard infusions (0.9% vs. 2.2% of infusions; RR = 0.48, P = 0.009). Seven studies limited to IBD also demonstrated decreased risk of reaction (RR = 0.49, P = 0.002). Other comparisons demonstrated no difference in RR of reaction, including concomitant medication use (P = 0.30) or analysis limited to high and medium quality studies (P = 0.07).


Rapid infliximab infusions of ≤1-h duration are not associated with increased risk of infusion reaction when compared to standard 2- to 3-h infusions in selected patients who previously tolerated three to four standard infusions. One-hour infusions will conserve health care resources and may lead to improved adherence and quality of life in patients receiving infliximab.

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