BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents are effective treatments for Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). We aimed to determine their patterns of use and changes in these patterns over time, as well as use of immunomodulators and corticosteroids before anti-TNF therapy for persons with inflammatory bowel diseases.
We used the University of Manitoba IBD Epidemiology Database to identify all anti-TNF users with CD and UC from 2001 through 2014. We assessed changes in the prevalence and incidence of anti-TNF use during different time periods (April 2001-March 2005, April 2005-March 2009, or April 2009-March 2013). We also characterized patterns of corticosteroid use, corticosteroid dependence, and immunomodulator use before anti-TNF administration and determined how these changed over time. The primary end point was change in time to first receipt of anti-TNF among the different time periods.
We identified 950 persons (761 with CD and 189 with UC) who received anti-TNF agents. The cumulative prevalence of persons with current or prior anti-TNF exposure in 2014 was 20.4% for CD and 6.0% for UC. In 2014 the cumulative incidence values of anti-TNF exposure within 5 years of diagnosis were 23.4% for patients with CD and 7.8% for patients with UC. Most users of anti-TNF agents had evidence of corticosteroid dependence (more than 2 g prednisone within any 12-month period) before initiation of anti-TNF therapy. Cumulative corticosteroid exposure before anti-TNF use decreased over time for patients with UC, but not significantly for patients with CD. There was no increase over time in the use of concomitant immunomodulators with anti-TNF therapy.
Use of anti-TNF agents increased from 2001 through 2014, with a concomitant significant decrease in cumulative use of corticosteroids before anti-TNF therapy for patients with UC. However, there has been no reduction in cumulative use of corticosteroids before anti-TNF therapy for patients with CD and no change in use of immunomodulators by patients with CD. These findings indicate a continuing need for optimization of anti-TNF therapy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.