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Long-term safety of infliximab for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease: a single-centre cohort study
  1. H Fidder1,
  2. F Schnitzler1,
  3. M Ferrante1,
  4. M Noman1,
  5. K Katsanos1,
  6. S Segaert2,
  7. L Henckaerts1,
  8. G Van Assche1,
  9. S Vermeire1,
  10. P Rutgeerts1
  1. 1
    Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2
    Department of Dermatology, Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
  1. ProfessorDr P Rutgeerts, Internal Medicine, Department of Gastroenterology, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium; Paul.Rutgeerts{at}


Background and aims: This study evaluates the long-term safety of infliximab in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treated with the drug over a 14-year period.

Methods: The medical records of 734 patients with IBD treated with infliximab and 666 control patients not treated with infliximab were reviewed for adverse events. The time of onset and outcome, severity and concomitant medication were recorded.

Results: Patients and controls were followed up for serious adverse events for a median time of 58 months (IQR 33–88) and 144 months (IQR 83–163), respectively. 112 severe adverse events occurred in 93 patients (13%) treated with infliximab and 157 occurred in 126 (19%) control patients (OR 1.33 (95% CI 0.56 to 3.00, p = 0.45). There was no difference between the two groups in mortality, malignancies and infection rate. Tuberculosis was diagnosed in two patients receiving infliximab who had negative skin tests at baseline whereas none of 16 patients with positive skin tests who received prophylaxis developed tuberculosis. Concomitant treatment with steroids was the only independent risk factor for infections in patients treated with infliximab (OR 2.69 (95% CI 1.18 to 6.12), p = 0.018). The most commonly observed systemic side effects were skin eruptions including psoriasiform eruptions in 150 patients (20%).

Conclusions: Long-term infliximab treatment had a good overall safety profile in the patient cohort studied.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • See Commentary, p 477

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