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Anti-TNF treatment in Crohn's disease and risk of bowel resection

A population study published in the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics examines the association of anti-TNF treatment in Crohn's disease and risk of bowel resection.

News image

TNF inhibitors (TNFi) have been shown to reduce the need for surgery in Crohn's disease, but few studies have examined their effect beyond the first year of treatment.

Dr Eberhardson and colleagues from Sweden conducted a register-based observational cohort study in Sweden 2006-2014 to investigate the risk of bowel resection in bowel surgery naïve TNFi-treated Crohn's disease patients, and whether patients on TNFi ≥12 months are less likely to undergo bowel resection than patients discontinuing treatment before 12 months.

The researchers identified all individuals in Sweden with Crohn's disease through the Swedish National Patient Register 1987-2014, and evaluated the incidence of bowel resection after first ever dispensation of adalimumab or infliximab from 2006 and up to 7 years follow-up.

90% treatment retention was observed at 6 months after start of TNFi
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

The research team identified 1856 Crohn's disease patients who had received TNFi.

Among these patients, 90% treatment retention was observed at 6 months after start of TNFi and 65% remained on the drug after 12 months.

The researchers found that cumulative rates of surgery in Crohn's disease patients exposed to TNFi years 1-7 were 7%, 13%, 17%, 20%, 23%, 25% and 28%.

The team noted that rates of bowel resection were similar between patients with TNFi survival <12 months and ≥12 months respectively.

No predictors for bowel resection were identified.

Dr Eberhardson's team concludes, "The risk of bowel resection after start of anti-TNF treatment is higher in regular health care than in published randomized controlled trials."

"Patients on sustained TNFi treatment beyond 12 months have bowel resection rates similar to those who discontinue TNFi treatment earlier."

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2017: 46(6): 589–598
18 August 2017

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