Oral tacrolimus for pediatric steroid-resistant ulcerative colitis

V M Navas-López, J Blasco Alonso, M J Serrano Nieto, F Girón Fernández-Crehuet, M D Argos Rodriguez, C Sierra Salinas
Journal of Crohn's & Colitis 2014, 8 (1): 64-9

BACKGROUND: Ulcerative colitis (UC) occurring during childhood is generally extensive and is associated with severe flares that may require intravenous steroid treatment. In cases of corticosteroid resistance is necessary to introduce a second-line treatment to avoid or delay surgery.

AIMS: To describe the efficacy and safety of oral tacrolimus for the treatment of severe steroid-resistant UC.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective study that included all patients under age 18 suffering from severe steroid-resistant UC treated with oral tacrolimus during the period January 1998 to October 2012 and with a follow-up period after treatment of 24 months or more.

RESULTS: A total of ten patients were included. The age at baseline was 9.4±4.9 years, and the time from diagnosis was 1.3 months (IQR, 1-5.7). Seven of the patients were in their first flare of disease. All of them received an oral dose of 0.12 mg/kg/day of tacrolimus divided in two doses. Trough plasma levels of tacrolimus were maintained between 4 and 13 ng/ml. Response was seen in 5/10 patients at 12 months, colectomy was eventually performed in 60% of patients during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS: Tacrolimus is useful in inducing remission in patients with severe steroid-resistant UC, preventing or delaying colectomy, and allowing the patient and family to prepare for a probable surgery. Tacrolimus may also be used as a treatment bridge for corticosteroid-dependent patients until the new maintenance therapy takes effect.

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