Remicade (infliximab) significantly benefitted the mental health of patients newly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease who had responded to the treatment, improving their perceptions of their illness and quality of life, and lowering anxiety levels, a recent study in China showed.
These findings were published under the title “Improvement of psychological status after infliximab treatment in patients with newly diagnosed Crohn’s disease” in the journal Patient Preference and Adherence.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) commonly described as a chronic inflammation of any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, though it most commonly pertains to inflammation of the small bowel, sometimes extending to the top layers of the large bowel.
Patients with newly diagnosed Crohn’s often see their physical and emotional well-being compromised. These physical and psychological effects change throughout the course of the disease and may be influenced by medical treatment.
Remicade, marketed by Janssen, is widely used to treat moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease. The study’s aim was to evaluate whether its use would also improve the psychological well-being of newly diagnosed Crohn’s patients.
A total of 82 patients completed the study at Ruijin Hospital, which is affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Ton University School of Medicine. These patients were given Remicade at 5 mg/kg at weeks 0, 2, 6, 14, 22 and 30. Outcomes measured at baseline, or study’s start, and then weeks 14 and 30 were disease severity, illness perceptions, coping strategies, anxiety, depression, and quality of life (QoL).
The team found that the rates of clinical remission at weeks 14 and 30 were 72 percent and 70.7 percent, respectively, or 59 patients at week 14 and 58 at week 30. Patients who achieved clinical remission at weeks 14 and 30 significantly improved in illness perception, maladaptive coping (an ability to cope with difficult situations), anxiety, depression and life quality.
Researchers also observed that emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping remained unchanged.
For those whose disease didn’t respond to treatment with Remicade, no significant changes were seen in these measurements at neither week 14 nor 30.
Effective infliximab treatment not only led to clinical remission in patients with newly diagnosed moderate-to-severe Crohn’s, but also improved their psychological status, which is particularly significant in a condition that brings such a high degree of uncertainty, hospital visits and life-limiting symptoms.
“Interventions that help reduce patient’s disease activity might also be beneficial to the improvement of their psychological characteristics,” the researchers concluded.