Effects of Concomitant Immunomodulator Therapy on Efficacy and Safety of Anti–Tumor Necrosis Factor Therapy for Crohn's Disease: A Meta-analysis of Placebo-controlled Trials

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



There is debate over whether patients with Crohn's disease who start anti–tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy after failed immunomodulator therapy should continue to receive concomitant immunomodulators. We conducted a meta-analysis of subgroups from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of anti-TNF agents to compare the efficacy and safety of concomitant immunomodulator therapy vs anti-TNF monotherapy.


We performed a systematic review of literature published from 1980 through 2008 and identified 11 RCTs of anti-TNF agents in patients with luminal or fistulizing Crohn's disease. We excluded RCTs of patients who were naive to anti-TNF and immunomodulator therapy. The primary end points were clinical response at weeks 4–14 and 24–30 and remission at weeks 24–30. Secondary end points included infusion site or injection site reactions and selected adverse events. A priori subgroup analyses were performed to evaluate fistula closure and the efficacy and safety of combination therapy with different anti-TNF agents.


Overall, combination therapy was no more effective than monotherapy in inducing 6-month remission (odds ratio [OR], 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80–1.31), inducing a response (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.79–1.48), maintaining a response (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 0.67–3.49), or inducing partial (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 0.84–1.88) or complete fistula closure (OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.68–1.78). In subgroup analyses of individual anti-TNF agents, combination therapy was not more effective than monotherapy in inducing 6-month remission in those treated with infliximab (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 0.97–3.07), adalimumab (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.58–1.35), or certolizumab (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.65–1.34). Overall, combination therapy was not associated with an increase in adverse events, but inclusion of infliximab was associated with fewer injection site reactions (OR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.26–0.79.)


On the basis of a meta-analysis, continued use of immunomodulator therapy after starting anti-TNF therapy is no more effective than anti-TNF monotherapy in inducing or maintaining response or remission. RCTs are needed to adequately assess the efficacy of continued immunomodulator therapy after anti-TNF therapy is initiated.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles