March 22, 2016

New treatment for Crohn’s disease

A new biological therapy, ustekinumab, improves markers of disease activity in patients with severe Crohn’s disease.


Crohn’s disease – a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract – causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. Immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory treatments fail in up to 40 percent of patients. In clinical trials, ustekinumab, a new biological therapy that is approved for treatment of psoriasis, is inducing and maintaining remission in Crohn’s disease.

Kimberly Harris, M.D., and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review to evaluate the effectiveness of ustekinumab in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Patients received a novel subcutaneous dosing schedule that was designed to match the intravenous dose being used in clinical trials. The investigators found that out of 45 patients who were resistant to other therapies, including anti-TNFs, 46 percent achieved a clinical response, and 35 percent achieved clinical remission. Laboratory and endoscopic markers of Crohn’s disease were also reduced.

The findings, reported in the February issue of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, demonstrate that a subcutaneous dosing schedule of ustekinumab was successful in improving markers of disease activity in patients with severe, refractory Crohn’s disease.

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