Colitis Remission Is Aided
The Active Ulcerative Colitis Trials(ACT) 1 and 2 found that the drug infliximabmay prompt remission in patientswith moderate-to-severe active ulcerativecolitis. Currently, the drug is used totreat Crohn's disease, and its effectivenessin treating ulcerative colitis still isunknown. Both trials included 364patients randomly assigned to receiveintravenous treatments of 5 mg/kg ofinfliximab, 10 mg/kg of infliximab, or aplacebo at the start of the study, atweeks 2 and 6, and then every 8 weeksuntil week 46 for ACT 1, or week 22 forACT 2. Both studies yielded results thatshowed a better clinical response amongthe infliximab groups. At week 8, 70% ofthe 5-mg/kg group and 62% of the 10-mg/kg group showed a positive clinicalresponse, compared with only 37% in theplacebo group (ACT 1). In the ACT 2groups, corresponding results were 65%,70%, and 29%. Participants began toshow improvements as soon as week 2,regardless of their response to steroidtreatment. In fact, more patients in theinfliximab group were able to discontinuetheir steroid treatment. Although therates of side effects were similar amongall treatment groups, however, the numberof serious complications—such asserious infections, lupus-like reactions,and neurologic complications—washigher among the infliximab groups.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.