Systematic review with meta-analysis: the efficacy of a second anti-TNF in patients with inflammatory bowel disease whose previous anti-TNF treatment has failed

J P Gisbert, A C Marín, A G McNicholl, M Chaparro
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2015, 41 (7): 613-23

BACKGROUND: One-third of patients with Crohn's disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) receiving anti-TNFs do not respond to treatment, and a relevant proportion experience loss of response or intolerance.

AIM: To investigate the efficacy and safety of a second anti-TNF agent after primary/secondary failure or intolerance to a first drug.


INCLUSION CRITERIA: studies evaluating the efficacy of infliximab (IFX), adalimumab (ADA) and certolizumab-pegol (CZP) as the second anti-TNF in CD or UC.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Bibliographical searches (PubMed/Embase).

DATA SYNTHESIS: percentage of response/remission; the meta-analysis was performed using the inverse variance method.

RESULTS: We included 46 studies (37 CD, 8 UC, 1 pouchitis). The CD studies comprised 32 switching IFX→ADA, 4 IFX→CZP and 1 ADA→IFX. Overall, the second anti-TNF after the failure of IFX in CD induced remission in 43% and response in 63% of patients. The remission rate was higher when the reason to withdraw the first anti-TNF was intolerance (61%) than after secondary (45%) or primary failure (30%); response rates were, respectively, 72%, 62% and 53%. All UC studies switched IFX→ADA, six of them reporting remission rates ranging from 0% to 50%. Adverse events rate ranged from 0% to 81% in CD, most of them mild (serious adverse event 0-21%, discontinuation rate <20%).

CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of a second anti-TNF in CD patients largely depends on the cause for switching. The remission rate is higher when the reason to withdraw the first anti-TNF is intolerance (61%), compared with secondary (45%) or primary failure (30%). Further studies of switch ADA→IFX are needed to evaluate this strategy. PROSPERO-registry-number: CRD42014012943.


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