1Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, VA, USA.
2Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, Richmond, VA, USA.
3Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, 401 North 12th Street, PO Box 980042, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) are chronic, relapsing inflammatory bowel diseases associated with significant morbidity. Conventional therapies for these diseases include corticosteroids, aminosalicylates, immunomodulators, and monoclonal antibodies. Over the years tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonists alone or in combination with other therapies have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for induction and maintenance of remission of moderate to severe UC and CD. Unfortunately, some patients with moderate to severe UC and CD are unable to attain or maintain remission with TNF-α antagonist treatment. Vedolizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is the first integrin receptor antagonist approved that selectively antagonizes α4β7 gastrointestinal integrin receptors. US Food and Drug Administration approval is for treatment of patients with moderate to severe active UC and CD who have inadequate response with, lost response to, or are intolerant to a TNF-α antagonist or an immunomodulator; or have inadequate response with, are intolerant to, or demonstrate dependence on corticosteroids. When administered according to approved dosing in patients with moderate to severe CD and UC, vedolizumab induces clinical response rates up to 31.4% and 47.1% at week 6, and clinical remission rates up to 39% and 41.8% at week 52, respectively. Serious adverse events reported with vedolizumab include serious infections, malignancies, and anaphylaxis. Since vedolizumab is gastrointestinal selective, to date, it has not shown evidence of causing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; however, postmarketing studies monitoring for this adverse effect are ongoing. Further assessment of vedolizumab earlier in the course of these diseases and in combination with other therapies is warranted.