Infliximab in inflammatory bowel disease

Papamichael K1, Lin S2, Moore M2, Papaioannou G3, Sattler L2, Cheifetz AS2. Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2019 Mar 26;10:2040622319838443. doi: 10.1177/2040622319838443. eCollection 2019.


Author information

Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Division of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Division of Gastroenterology, Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

North Florida Regional Medical Center, Internal Medicine Residency Program, University of Central Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy has revolutionized the medical treatment of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn's disease (CD), and ulcerative colitis. Twenty years ago, infliximab became the first anti-TNF agent approved for IBD. Data from randomized controlled trials, large observational cohort studies, postmarketing registries, and meta-analyses show that infliximab is a very effective treatment for moderate to severe IBD with a good safety profile. Infliximab has been also used to treat pouchitis following an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) after restorative proctocolectomy and to prevent postoperative recurrence following an ileocolonic resection for CD with good results. Nevertheless, up to 30% of patients show no clinical benefit following induction and up to 50% lose response over time. Both these unwanted outcomes can be largely explained by inadequate drug concentrations and frequently by the development of antibodies to infliximab. Loss of response can be managed efficiently and often prevented by applying therapeutic drug monitoring. Recently, the first biosimilars of infliximab have been approved and are utilized in clinical practice with comparable efficacy and safety with the originator. This review will mainly focus on the efficacy of infliximab in IBD.

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