Infliximab Maintains IBD Remission Longer with Dose Adjustment and Monitoring

Infliximab Maintains IBD Remission Longer with Dose Adjustment and Monitoring
It is estimated that roughly 1.4 million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Every year, over 30,000 new IBD diagnoses are made, and yet science has yet to determine this debilitating condition's cause, nor has it found a reliable cure. One of the drugs indicated for IBD, infliximab, was recently the subject of a study now published in the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases journal. In this observational study, conducted at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the researchers recommended proactive monitoring and appropriate dose adjustment of the drug in order to enhance and prolong patients' long-term therapeutic response. Infliximab is an anti-tumor necrosis factor antibody. Specifically, it inhibits TNF-alpha -- a protein found in abnormally high amounts in IBD patients and those with other inflammatory diseases. More popularly referred to with its brand name, Remicade, this drug is 1 of only 4 approved anti-TNF formulations indicated for cases unresponsive to or have built tolerance to traditional therapies. While this medication has proven to be quite effective in producing and sustaining IBD remission, the body soon experiences a reduction in therapeutic response due to its suspected tendency to form antibodies against infliximab. This is a particularly disturbing outcome as this drug is normally given to patients as a sort of "last resort" for when they stop responding to other treatments, and is meant to be taken indefinitely to maintain remission. Five years ago, lead author of the study and one of the doctors at BIDMC, Adam S. Cheifetz, MD, employed proactive monitoring on IBD patients receiving infliximab with the end goal of reducing incidences of toxicity and eventual developmen
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