Abstract

Thiopurines in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Current and Future Place

Paediatr Drugs. 2020 Oct;22(5):449-461. doi: 10.1007/s40272-020-00411-5.

Karen van Hoeve 1 2, Séverine Vermeire 3 4

 
     

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Nutrition, University Hospitals Leuven, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
  • 2TARGID, Department of Chronic Diseases and Metabolism (CHROMETA), KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
  • 3TARGID, Department of Chronic Diseases and Metabolism (CHROMETA), KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. severine.vermeire@uzleuven.be.
  • 4Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospitals Leuven, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. severine.vermeire@uzleuven.be.

Abstract

Thiopurines have been widely used to maintain steroid-free remission in children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, within the expanding treatment armamentarium, the role of these non-selective immunomodulators has been questioned, especially in pediatric patients, who often present with a more aggressive disease course, which can impact growth and development. The less favorable safety but also inferior efficacy profile associated with thiopurines, in contrast to the newer biological therapies, has interfered with their use. The future place of thiopurines in the management of childhood IBD, therefore, needs revisiting. This review provides a practical overview on the historical and current use of thiopurines in pediatric IBD with specific attention for thiopurine S-methyltransferase testing and monitoring of thiopurine metabolite levels as an approach to improve outcomes. We also give a personal expert opinion on the future role of these drugs in childhood IBD.

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