6-Mercaptopurine maintains remission in pediatric Crohn's disease.
Azathioprine, a prodrug of 6-mercaptopurine, is used for maintenance of remission of Crohn's disease in Europe.
Dr Gerald Jaspers and colleagues evaluated to what extent azathioprine is used in newly diagnosed pediatric Crohn's disease patients.
The team evaluated whether maintenance of remission differed between patients using azathioprine or not.
Charts of children diagnosed between 1998 and 2003 were reviewed.
| Patients diagnosed after 2000 received azathioprine earlier during the disease|
|Inflammatory Bowel Diseases|
Active disease was defined as Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index greater than 10 or systemic corticosteroid use.
Remission was defined as Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index 10 or less without use of corticosteroids.
The research team evaluated 88 children, of which 55 were male with a mean age of 12 years.
The team reported that 72 patients received azathioprine during the follow-up period.
Patients diagnosed after 2000 received azathioprine significantly earlier during the course of disease compared with those diagnosed earlier.
At initial presentation, moderate-severe disease activity and prescription of corticosteroids were more prevalent in patients using azathioprine compared with nonazathioprine patients.
The researchers found that duration of corticosteroid use was longer in patients receiving azathioprine.
Median maintenance of first remission in patients who initially used corticosteroids, however, was longer in patients receiving azathioprine compared with nonazathioprine patients.
Dr Jaspers' team comments, “Since 2000, azathioprine is being introduced earlier in the treatment of newly diagnosed pediatric Crohn's disease patients.”
“The use of azathioprine is associated with prolonged maintenance of the first remission.”