Review article: infliximab for Crohn’s disease treatment - shifting therapeutic strategies after 10 years of clinical experience
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BACKGROUND: Crohn's disease is a progressive condition, with most patients developing a penetrating or stricturing complication over time. A decade ago, treatment goals consisted of immediate symptomatic control. The introduction of anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapies, however, has changed the way patients with Crohn's disease are treated. Over 10 years of clinical data and experience have demonstrated these therapies to be highly effective in Crohn's disease. AIM: To provide clinicians guidance on optimising treatment with anti-TNF therapies in Crohn's disease by introducing an evidence- and personal opinion-based treatment algorithm using infliximab initial anti-TNF therapy. METHODS: Scientific literature was reviewed using MEDLINE to evaluate data on clinical trials with infliximab in luminal and fistulising Crohn's disease. RESULTS: The data from several landmark infliximab trials have changed clinical practice and led to a readjustment of treatment goals in Crohn's disease, allowing patients to achieve more than just symptomatic relief including sustained steroid-free remission. Infliximab induces complete mucosal healing and reduces the rates of hospitalisation and surgery. Based on disease-related risk factors, a treatment algorithm for infliximab is delineated in favour of a rapid step-up approach in patients at high risk for a disabling course of disease. CONCLUSION: Adopting the suggested treatment algorithm for infliximab into clinical routine is aimed to optimise outcomes for patients with Crohn's disease.
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