JOURNAL ARTICLE

Successful use of infliximab and tacrolimus combination therapy in a patient with ulcerative colitis refractory to infliximab dose intensification plus azathioprine

Xavier Cortes, Joaquín Borrás-Blasco, Sergio Fernendez, Marta Moreno, Josefa Rodríguez, Jose Ramón Molés, Elvira Casterá
International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2016, 54 (2): 125-8
26754306

OBJECTIVE: To report of a case successful use of infliximab (IFX) and tacrolimus (TAC) in a patient with ulcerative colitis (UC).

CASE SUMMARY: A 22-year-old woman diagnosed with UC started treatment with azathioprine 2.5 mg/kg. After 3 years of therapy, she developed a severe relapse. A colonoscopy was performed showing diffuse continuous mucosal disease and multiple erosions (< 5 mm) with no signs of spontaneous bleeding. Treatment with IFX 5 mg/kg at weeks 0, 2, and 6 was started. After IFX induction, she remained with symptoms: six stools per day, as well as presenting bloody diarrhea, tenesmus, and no abdominal pain. An IFX dose intensification of 5 mg/kg every 6 weeks was prescribed. After 6 months of azathioprine plus IFX therapy, patient's clinical condition was improved: 3 - 4 stools per day, 20% of bloody diarrhea, tenesmus, and no abdominal pain. Her Mayo endoscopic subscore was 6.3 months later, and a severe relapse of ulcerative colitis was presented. The patient refused a surgical treatment. Azathioprine 2.5 mg/kg/day was suspended and TAC 0.2 mg/kg/day (12 mg/day) as a compassionate use was added to IFX dose intensification of 10 mg/kg every 8 weeks and mesalamine 800 mg 3 times daily. After the first month of combined therapy, the patient's clinical condition improved with no bloody stools and abdominal pain. After 6 months of combination therapy, the patient was in remission, with two stools per day, no tenesmus and no abdominal pain. Due to the patient's clinical remission, IFX was suspended. Tacrolimus was continued on 10 mg/day. After 6 months of TAC monotherapy, the patient continued without symptoms (1 - 2 normal stools per day).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on our case, the combination therapy of IFX and TAC could be selected as an effective approach for the patients with UC refractory to IFX dose intensification plus AZA. However, further studies need to be performed to evaluate the efficacy of this combination therapy.

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