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Dig Liver Dis. 2002 Jun;34(6):411-8.

Infliximab in treatment of Crohn's disease: the Milan experience.

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Gastrointestinal Unit, L. Sacco University Hospital, Milan, Italy.



Efficacy of infliximab in treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe refractory and fistulizing Crohn's disease has been shown in controlled clinical trials. Moreover, audit data from North America and North Europe have confirmed efficacy in clinical practice comparable to that in clinical trials.


To report clinical experience using infliximab in treatment of Crohn's disease in Italy, comparing efficacy and safety with those reported in clinical trials and other published series.


The study population comprised 63 patients (31 males and 32 females, median age 33 years) treated with infliximab for refractory/inflammatory (31 patients) and/or fistulizing Crohn's disease (32 patients). All patients received an infusion of infliximab at a dose of 5 mg/kg at weeks 0, 2 and 6. After the first infusion, clinical and laboratory assessments were repeated at weeks 2, 6 and 10. For refractory inflammatory Crohn's disease, clinical remission was defined as a Crohn's Disease Activity Index of < or = 150 at each scheduled visit, clinical response as a reduction in the Crohn's Disease Activity Index score of > or = 70 points in comparison to baseline. For fistulizing Crohn's disease, a complete response was defined as closure of any draining fistulae at week 10. A fistula was defined as closed when it no longer drained despite gentle finger pressure. A partial response was defined as reduction in number, size or drainage of fistulae, at the same visit.


According to an intention-to-treat evaluation on the 31 patients with refractory/inflammatory Crohn's disease, at week 2, 42.5% (14 patients) had a clinical response and 31.3% of patients (10 patients) were in clinical remission. At week 10 (4 weeks after the end of third infusion), 80.6% (25 patients) had a clinical response and 71% (22 patients) were in clinical remission and 14/19 (74%) had discontinued steroid treatment. Of the 32 patients with fistulizing Crohn's Disease, 15 (46.9%) had a complete response, 8 (25%) a partial response, and 9 (28.1%) no response at week 10 check-up. The incidence of side-effects was low (16%) and not influenced by concurrent immunomodulatory therapy.


The present experience with infliximab in clinical practice confirms its efficacy, in particular in inflammatory/refractory Crohn's disease and its safety, at least, in short-term follow-up.

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