Longitudinal trajectory of fatigue with initiation of biologic therapy in inflammatory bowel diseases: A prospective cohort study

Nienke Z Borren, William Tan, Francis P Colizzo, Jay Luther, John J Garber, Hamed Khalili, C Janneke van der Woude, Ashwin N Ananthakrishnan
Journal of Crohn's & Colitis 2019 August 26

BACKGROUNDS AND AIMS: Fatigue is prevalent in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Biologic therapy is effective in achieving symptomatic and endoscopic remission, but its impact on fatigue is less well established. Our aim is to define the longitudinal trajectory of fatigue over 1 year in patients initiating biologic therapy.

METHODS: This prospective cohort enrolled patients diagnosed with Crohn's Disease (CD) or Ulcerative Colitis (UC) initiating biologic therapy with infliximab, adalimumab, ustekinumab, or vedolizumab. Fatigue was quantified using the 7-point fatigue question in the Short Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (SIBDQ). A score of ≤ 4 for this question was used to define fatigue. Multivariable regression models adjusting for relevant confounders examined the independent association between attaining clinical remission and resolution of fatigue.

RESULTS: Our study included 326 patients (206 CD, 120 UC) initiating biologic therapy (144 anti-TNF, 129 vedolizumab, 63 ustekinumab). A total of 61% of the included patients reported significant fatigue at baseline. This was associated with female gender, depressive symptoms, active disease and disturbed sleep (p < 0.001). Among the 198 patients who were fatigued at therapy initiation, 86 (70%), 55 (63%), and 44 (61%) remained fatigued at week 14, 30, and 54 respectively. At each of these time points, achieving clinical remission was associated with lower likelihood of persistent fatigue. However, despite achieving remission, 35%, 30%, and 28% of patients experienced persistent fatigue at weeks 14, 30, and 54 respectively.

CONCLUSION: Fatigue is common in IBD. Though biologic therapy improves fatigue parallel symptomatic improvement, a significant proportion continue to experience persistent fatigue up to 1 year.

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