Stopping Biologics in IBD-What Is the Evidence?

Louis E1. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2018 Mar 19;24(4):725-731. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izx098.

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1 Department of Gastroenterology, CHU Liège University Hospital, Liège, Belgium.


Biologic treatments have revolutionized the way we treat inflammatory bowel disease patients (IBD). Anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) antibodies are superior to conventional therapies to achieve sustained remission without steroids and mucosal healing. The objective of IBD treatment has evolved from symptom alleviation to a combination of absence of symptoms and intestinal healing. Nevertheless, biologics are expensive and are associated with an increased risk of infections and possibly skin cancers. Therefore, the duration of these treatments may be questioned, and stopping them may be contemplated by some patients and clinicians, while it is sometimes even imposed by some jurisdictions across the world. In the present paper, I highlight the recent literature about outcomes after biologics withdrawal, patients' profiles associated with these outcomes, monitoring after withdrawal, and results of retreatment. We also introduce the concept of biologic treatment cycles in IBD.

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