The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical experience with the anti–tumor necrosis factor chimeric monoclonal antibody, infliximab, in pediatric patients with Crohn disease in The Netherlands.Design:
Clinical response and adverse effects of infliximab were recorded for pediatric patients with Crohn disease treated from October 1992 to January 2003.Results:
Thirty patients (aged 7–18 years) with refractory Crohn disease (with or without severe fistulas) were treated with infliximab. Patients were treated with up to 30 infusions. Mean follow-up was 25.3 months. A total of 212 infusions were administered. Thirteen patients had refractory Crohn disease without fistulas. Six patients showed good long-term response to infliximab treatment (defined as clinical index ≤10 points). Sixteen patients had refractory Crohn disease with draining fistulas. Nine showed good long-term response (closure or nonproductiveness of fistulas). One patient with metastatic Crohn disease in the skin had a good long-term response. Six patients developed an allergic reaction during infusion. In one patient, the allergic reaction occurred after an infliximab-free interval of 9 years. One patient died of sepsis.Conclusions:
Infliximab was an effective therapy in 53% of patients with refractory pediatric Crohn disease, with or without fistulas. Approximately half of the patients become unresponsive to infliximab therapy. Randomized controlled studies are mandatory to assess long-term efficacy and safety to define the optimal therapeutic strategy of infliximab therapy in children with Crohn disease.