Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics

Long-term outcomes of thalidomide in refractory Crohn's disease.

PMID 25511905


Several open-label and retrospective studies have indicated that thalidomide may be beneficial in patients with refractory Crohn's disease (CD). To report our long-term experience with the use of thalidomide for adults with refractory Crohn's disease. We conducted a retrospective study of long-term clinical and safety outcomes among adults treated with thalidomide for refractory Crohn's disease. Response was defined as a clinician's assessment of improvement after at least 7xa0days treatment of one or more of the following: bowel movement frequency, fistula output, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, extraintestinal manifestations, or well-being. Remission required all of the following: <3 stools/day, no bleeding, abdominal pain or extraintestinal manifestations and increased well-being. Thirty-seven adults with refractory Crohn's disease were treated with thalidomide for a median of 4.4xa0months and followed up for a median of 58xa0months. Clinical response and remission rates were 54% and 19%, respectively. About 40% of patients were able to stop steroids. Response rates were higher for those treated with more than 50xa0mg/day (85%) than for those treated with a maximum of 50xa0mg/day (40%; Pxa0=xa00.01). An adverse event occurred in 68% of patients. Approximately one-third of patients (38%) experienced neuropathy. Thalidomide appears to be safe and effective in some patients with refractory Crohn's disease. Although side effects may limit long-term use, thalidomide has potential to induce significant clinical responses.

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(±)-Thalidomide, ≥98%, powder