JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Long-term treatment with infliximab in patients with sarcoidosis.

BACKGROUND: Long-term benefit and safety of infliximab treatment in patients with chronic sarcoidosis remain unclear.

OBJECTIVES: It was the aim of this study to assess the clinical benefit and safety of long-term infliximab treatment in patients with chronic steroid-resistant sarcoidosis.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients with chronic steroid-resistant sarcoidosis who received infliximab between January 2003 and November 2010. Pulmonary function tests and index lesions before and after infliximab therapy were assessed.

RESULTS: Between January 2003 and November 2010, 28 patients received in-fliximab, 16 of them for more than 12 months. Five (31%) of these 16 patients with long-term infliximab treatment had a predominantly pulmonary disease, whereas 11 (69%) had a predominantly extrapulmonary involvement. Mean duration of treatment for the 16 patients was 29 months (range 12-62). Six of 11 (55%) patients with mainly extrapulmonary sarcoidosis showed a complete remission of their index lesion, 4/11 (36%) had a partial remission and 1/11 (9%) showed no response. One out of 5 patients with predominantly pulmonary sarcoidosis showed a >10% improvement in percentage predicted forced vital capacity, 3/5 showed a 0-10% improvement, and in 1/5 patients, percentage predicted forced vital capacity declined during infliximab treatment. Thus, overall, 14/16 (88%) patients profited from long-term infliximab treatment. Suspected adverse effects which lead to a temporary withdrawal of infliximab therapy were noticed in 1/16 (6%) patients.

CONCLUSIONS: This retrospective study indicates that long-term infliximab is very efficient and safe in patients with chronic steroid-resistant sarcoidosis when assessed with individualized treatment targets. Patients with predominantly extrapulmonary sarcoidosis seem to profit more than patients with a predominantly pulmonary disease.

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