Thiopurine Optimization Through Combination With Allopurinol in Children With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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Abstract

Objectives:

Thiopurines are commonly used in the maintenance of remission for children with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Variation in drug metabolism may affect hepatotoxicity or therapeutic effect. We aimed to describe our center's experience with thiopurine optimization through the use of reduced thiopurine dosing in combination with allopurinol upon hepatotoxicity, drug metabolite levels, and clinical outcomes in children with IBD.

Methods:

Patients aged 2 to 21 years with IBD treated with the combination of thiopurines/allopurinol between 2008 and 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients previously treated with antitumor necrosis factor therapy were excluded. Demographic data, transaminase levels (aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase), drug metabolites levels (6-thioguanine [6-TG], 6-methylmercaptopurine), physician global assessment, and corticosteroid use were recorded at baseline, 6, and 12 months.

Results:

Fifty-two patients (29 girls, 56%) met inclusion criteria. Thirty-two of 52 (62%) remained on the combination for 12 months. In those remaining on the thiopurine/allopurinol combination, median alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase levels were reduced (P < 0.001) and median 6-TG levels were increased (P < 0.001) at both 6 and 12 months. Corticosteroid use was decreased at both 6 (P < 0.001) and 12 months (P < 0.001) compared to use at baseline. Remission rates also improved at both 6 (P = 0.013) and 12 months (P = 0.003). Twenty of the 52 patients (38%) had discontinued the thiopurine/allopurinol combination within 12 months of initiation with 17 of 52 (33%) initiating antitumor necrosis factor therapy.

Conclusions:

Low-dose thiopurines in combination with allopurinol improved hepatotoxicity and increased 6-TG levels in children with IBD. Corticosteroid use was reduced and remission rates improved in those patients remaining on this combination for 1 year. However, approximately 40% of patients required a change in therapy within 12 months.

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