Does co-treatment with immunosuppressors improve outcome in patients with Crohn's disease treated with adalimumab?
Background: There is clear benefit from combination therapy with infliximab and immunosuppressive drugs (IS), but few data are available for adalimumab (ADA). Aim: To assess the efficacy of ADA monotherapy and ADA+IS for induction and maintenance therapy in Crohn's disease. Methods: Retrospective study of patients with Crohn's disease treated with ADA in Oxford, UK or Liège, Belgium. Treatment periods were divided into 6-month semesters. A combination therapy semester was defined as ADA+IS for at least 3 months; successful induction meant clinical response; a semester with flare as ADA dose escalation, starting steroids, perianal complication, or surgery; and ADA failure as ADA withdrawal for secondary loss of response or intolerance. Semesters with and without flares were compared through univariate and multivariate analysis. Results: Successful induction was achieved in 171/207 (83%) patients, with no significant difference between ADA+IS and ADA monotherapy (85% vs. 82%, P = 0.50). Five hundred and sixty-two semesters in 181 patients were included for maintenance analysis. ADA+IS was not associated with fewer semesters with flare (34% vs. 35%, P = 0.96), or with ADA failure (6% vs. 8%, P = 0.43). Nevertheless, combination therapy in the first semester was associated with a lower risk of ADA failure (5% vs. 10%, P = 0.04, OR = 0.48) and combination therapy beyond 6 months was associated with fewer semesters with flares (14% vs. 36%, P = 0.02, OR = 0.31). Conclusions: There may be a benefit from adalimumab+immunosuppressive drugs combination therapy during the first semester of initiating adalimumab, with a slight decrease in adalimumab failure and lower need for adalimumab dosage escalation. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.