The American journal of gastroenterology

Adalimumab is more effective than azathioprine and mesalamine at preventing postoperative recurrence of Crohn's disease: a randomized controlled trial.

PMID 24019080


Postsurgical recurrence of Crohn's disease (CD) is very frequent and, to date, only infliximab has been shown to be useful in preventing it. The efficacy of adalimumab (ADA) is poorly known. We evaluated whether the administration of ADA after resective intestinal surgery reduces postoperative CD recurrence. We randomly assigned 51 patients with CD who had undergone ileocolonic resection to receive after 2 weeks from surgery ADA at the dose of 160/80/40 mg every two weeks, azathioprine (AZA) at 2 mg/kg/day, or mesalamine at 3 g/day, and they were followed up for 2 years. The primary end point was the proportion of patients with endoscopic and clinical recurrence. Secondary end point was the assessment of quality of life by means of a previously validated questionnaire. The rate of endoscopic recurrence was significantly lower in ADA (6.3%) compared with the AZA (64.7%; odds ratio (OR)=0.036 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.004-0.347)) and mesalamine groups (83.3%; OR=0.013 (95% CI 0.001-0.143)). There was a significantly lower proportion of patients in clinical recurrence in the ADA group (12.5%) compared with the AZA (64.7%; OR=0.078 (95% CI 0.013-0.464)) and mesalamine groups (50%; (OR=0.143 (95% CI 0.025-0.819)). The quality of life was higher in the ADA (202) than in the AZA (90; OR=0.028 (95% CI 0.004-0.196)) and mesalamine groups (98; OR=0.015 (95% CI 0.002-0.134)). The administration of ADA after intestinal resective surgery was greatly effective in preventing endoscopic and clinical recurrence of CD. Further larger studies are necessary to confirm the therapeutic advantage and to show the economic implications of biologic therapy in this field.