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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Apr;33(8):870-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04599.x. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Review article: remission rates achievable by current therapies for inflammatory bowel disease.

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INSERM U954 and Department of Hepato-Gastroenterology, University Hospital of Nancy, Henri Poincaré University, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France.



New medical therapies have improved outlook in inflammatory bowel disease but published impact on surgical rates has been modest suggesting that many patients are still not attaining remission.


To review remission rates with current medical treatments for inflammatory bowel disease.


We searched MEDLINE (source PUBMED, 1966 to January, 2011).


Induction and maintenance of remission was observed in 20% (range, 9-29.5%) and 53% (range, 36.8-59.6%) of ulcerative colitis (UC) patients treated with oral 5-ASA derivatives. Induction of remission was noted in 52% (range, 48-58%) of Crohn's disease (CD) patients and 54% of UC patients treated with steroids in population-based cohorts. Maintenance of remission was reported in 71% (range, 56-95%) of CD patients on azathioprine over a 6-month to 2-year period and in 60% (range, 41.7-82.4%) in UC at 1 year or longer. Induction and maintenance of remission was noted in 39% (range, 19.3-66.7%) and 70% (range, 39-90%) of CD patients on methotrexate over a 40-week period. Induction of remission was reported in 32% (range, 25-48%), 26% (range, 18-36%) and 20% (range, 19-23%) of CD patients on infliximab, adalimumab or certolizumab pegol, respectively. The corresponding figures were 45% (range, 39-59%), 43% (range, 40-47%) and 47.9% at weeks 20-30 among initial responders. Induction of remission was observed in 33% (range, 27.5-38.8%) and 18.5% of UC patients on infliximab or adalimumab, respectively. Maintenance of remission was noted in 33% (range, 25.6-36.9%) of UC patients on infliximab at week 30. Approximately one-fifth of CD and UC patients treated with biologicals require intestinal resection after 2-5 years in referral-centre studies.


In the era of biologics, the proportion of patients with inflammatory bowel disease not entering remission remains high.

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