Infliximab is more effective than cyclosporine as a rescue therapy for acute severe ulcerative colitis: a retrospective single-center study
Background Acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC) is a potentially life-threatening disease, and the best option in cases of steroid-refractory disease is still debated. We compared the early- and long-term efficacy and safety of the 2 available “rescue therapies”, infliximab (IFX) and cyclosporine (CYS), in this setting.
Methods We retrospectively evaluated patients admitted for ASUC and treated with “rescue therapy”. The primary endpoint was early colectomy-free survival (30 days) and colectomy-free survival until the end of follow up. The secondary endpoints were predictors of colectomy and long-term maintenance of the treatment strategy over time.
Results Of 129 patients admitted, 68 received rescue therapy (47 with IFX), whereas 7 underwent early colectomy (10.3%). At 30 days, fewer patients treated with IFX showed a need for colectomy (8.5% vs. 14.3%) compared to those in the CYS group, though the difference was non-significant (odds ratio [OR] 0.69, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.10-4.69; P=0.47). No severe side effects due to IFX and CYS were observed. During a mean follow up of 40 months, 23 additional patients (37.7%) underwent colectomy, and the rate was significantly lower in the IFX group (25.6%) than in the CYS group (66.7%) (hazard ratio 0.25, 95%CI 0.10-0.61; P=0.003). Colectomy-free survival was significantly higher in the IFX group than in the CYS group (P=0.018) at 12 months.
Conclusions In our setting, the early outcomes of IFX and CYS for ASUC were comparable. IFX was associated with significantly lower colectomy rates during the observation period and had a similar safety profile to CYS.
Keywords Ulcerative colitis, rescue therapy, anti-tumor necrosis factor, calcineurin inhibitors
Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (3): 370-377