Immunosuppressive therapy in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: results of a survey of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Subcommittee on Immunosuppressive Use of the Pediatric IBD Collaborative Research Forum.
We report the results of a survey of the membership of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition designed to determine pediatric gastroenterologists' attitudes toward the use of immunosuppressive therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and to assess how these medications are actually being used in the treatment of children with IBD. One hundred five physicians (27% of surveys) responded. Eighty-eight (84%) had prescribed 6-mercaptopurine and/or azathioprine for IBD, and 66 believed that they were effective. Only 12 had used cyclosporine and four methotrexate. All physicians who had used immunosuppressives in IBD had prescribed them for patients with Crohn's disease, but only 50% had prescribed them for ulcerative colitis. The predominant indications for use included intractable symptoms despite traditional medical therapy (92%) and for corticosteroid-sparing effects (86%). Potential toxicities of greatest concern included marrow and immune suppression and malignancy. The vast majority of responders were not certain what to recommend with respect to the use of immunosuppressive agents prior to and during pregnancy. A clinical database was compiled from 165 retrospective case reports submitted by 45 physicians (33 medical facilities). At the start of immunosuppressive therapy, patients were 15.3 +/- 4.0 yr of age, and 52% were Tanner IV-V. Eighty-one percent had Crohn's disease, 8% ulcerative colitis, and 11% indeterminant colitis. One hundred twenty-two were treated with 6-mercaptopurine, and 43 with azathioprine. Five also received cyclosporine concomitantly. Overall, 68% of patients treated with an immunosuppressive improved. Complications requiring discontinuation of immunosuppressive therapy occurred in 6% of patients. It appears that immunosuppressives are commonly used to treat children with IBD despite a paucity of data regarding their safety and efficacy in this age group. Controlled, prospective trials are warranted to better define the role of immunosuppressive therapy in pediatric IBD.
Markowitz, J; Grancher, K; Mandel, F; Daum, F
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