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Enteric-Release Budesonide May Be Useful in the Management of Non-Responsive Celiac Disease.

BACKGROUND: Non-responsive celiac disease (NRCD) has many aetiologies, including gluten exposure. Budesonide may be used for refractory celiac disease (RCD) and celiac crisis.

AIMS: We reviewed the effectiveness of budesonide to induce clinical and histologic response in NRCD with villous atrophy (VA).

METHODS: Case series of adult cases with NRCD and VA prescribed budesonide at two celiac centers. Clinical variables and mucosal recovery (i.e., normal villous architecture within 1 year of treatment) were evaluated.

RESULTS: Forty-two cases [77% female, median age 45.0 (IQR 28.3-60.0) years] were included. Most common symptoms were diarrhea (64%) and abdominal pain (62%). Budesonide was initiated at 9 mg (83%) for a median duration of 16.0 weeks (IQR 6.8-25.0 weeks). In total, 57% exhibited a clinical response, positively associated with diarrhea (adjusted OR 6.08 95% CI 1.04-35.47) and negatively with fatigue (adjusted OR 0.18 95% CI 0.03-0.98). Clinical response was higher among those with dietitian counseling prior to budesonide (n = 29, 70 vs. 23%, p < 0.01). Mucosal recovery was observed in 11/24 with follow-up duodenal biopsies. There was no association between clinical response and mucosal recovery, and 79% of clinical responders had a symptomatic relapse. RCD (48%) and chronic gluten exposure (24%) were the main suspected aetiologies of NRCD. Most individuals without a clinical response subsequently received an IBS-related diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Budesonide may be effective to induce clinical response in NRCD presenting with diarrhea and VA, but clinical recurrence and lack of mucosal recovery are frequent after tapering. Other diagnoses, including coexisting IBS, may be considered in non-responders to budesonide therapy.

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