Biologic therapy in the management of extraintestinal manifestations of inflammatory bowel disease

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The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), notably Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), are systemic inflammatory diseases primarily involving the gastrointestinal tract. Twenty percent to 40% of patients with IBD develop extraintestinal inflammation and symptoms, known as extraintestinal manifestations (EIMs).1–7 The most common EIMs affect the joints, skin, eyes, and biliary tract. The EIMs associated with IBD bear a negative impact on patients with UC and CD. Thus, the successful treatment of EIMs is essential for improving the quality of life of IBD patients. For most EIMs, their resolution often parallels that of the active IBD in both timing and therapy required. However, some EIM such as axial arthritis, pyoderma gangrenosum, uveitis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis run a clinical course independent of IBD disease activity. The advent of biologic response modifiers, e.g., tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) inhibitors, has improved the treatment of IBD and its associated EIMs. This article reviews the therapeutic experiences of the 2 most widely used anti-TNF neutralizing antibodies, infliximab and adalimumab, for immune-mediated EIM of IBD.

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