Mycophenolate mofetil in refractory inflammatory bowel disease
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BACKGROUND: Mycophenolate mofetil has been claimed to be effective and well tolerated in refractory inflammatory bowel disease although there is little information regarding its use in clinical practice. AIM: To review our experience in achieving and maintaining remission in refractory inflammatory bowel disease and to document tolerability, major toxicity and efficacy. METHODS: A retrospective audit was performed of the records of all patients with inflammatory bowel disease treated with mycophenolate mofetil (1-2 g/day) over a 3-year period. RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients were identified. Almost all had been intolerant of, or had not responded to azathioprine, and 38 were steroid-dependent. mycophenolate mofetil was discontinued in 22 patients, 11 due to intolerance and 10 because of lack of efficacy. Of the 17 on treatment at the end of the study period 16 were in remission and off all steroid therapy, but one needed infliximab to maintain remission. No major toxicity was noted and there was no major sepsis. CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 40% of patients with severe refractory inflammatory bowel disease achieved remission and complete steroid withdrawal on mycophenolate mofetil therapy, almost 30% could not tolerate the drug, and a further 30% did not respond. Mycophenolate mofetil therapy may have a role for steroid-dependent patients refractory to azathioprine.
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