Background: Infliximab (IFX), the chimeric anti TNFalpha antibody, an established treatment for Crohn's disease in adults and in children, is used less frequently in ulcerative colitis (UC). Aim of the study: To report the clinical course of pediatric patients with active UC receiving IFX. Patients and methods: Charts of 22 patients were reviewed (13 male, 9 female): 4 with a severe UC attack refractory to systemic corticosteroids (CS); 18 with a protracted course, of which 16 CS-dependent and 2 CS-resistant. The baseline therapeutic program consisted of 3 consecutive intravenous infusions (0, 2, 6 weeks) of IFX (5 mg/kg), followed by a retreatment schedule (infusion every 8 weeks); azathioprine (AZA) was administered chronically in all. Clinical evaluation was done with the Lichtiger Colitis Activity Index (LCAI). Follow-up was performed until week 54. LCAI ≥ 9 was considered treatment failure; a LCAI ≤ 2 was consistent with remission. Results: All 22 patients began the study with a LCAI > 9: 12 had a full response and were on remission at week 54 and did not receive CS (8 on IFX re-treatment and AZA, 4 on AZA alone); 6 had a partial response; 4 were non responders. Colectomy was performed in 7 patients, beyond the period of the acute attack in all but one. Conclusions: In children with severe ulcerative colitis IFX is a valuable treatment for inducing remission, avoiding emergency colectomy; retreatment may be offered to maintain remission.
- Ulcerative colitis
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