REMICADE® in Pediatric Crohn's Disease (PCD)

REMICADE® has been approved for the treatment of pediatric patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease who had an inadequate response to conventional therapies.

Because the presentation of CD in children is similar to that in adults, the same pathophysiologic mechanisms involving tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) are believed to be present in children.1

The pivotal pediatric trial of REMICADE®, "A Randomized, multicenter, open-label study to Evaluate the safety and efficacy of Anti-TNF-a Chimeric monoclonal antibody in pediatric subjects with moderate to severe Crohn's disease" (REACH study), was conducted to determine efficacy and safety in patients 6 to 17 years of age.1

REACH trial background1

REACH was a multicenter, randomized, open-label, controlled trial, which evaluated the safety and efficacy of REMICADE® in 112 pediatric patients (ages 6 to 17 years). All patients were required to be on a stable dose of azathioprine (AZA), 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP), or methotrexate (MTX); 35% were also receiving corticosteroids at baseline

The primary objective of this trial was to evaluate the efficacy of a 3-dose induction regimen of REMICADE® in reducing signs and symptoms in pediatric patients with moderately to severely active CD. Additionally, the safety profile of REMICADE® in these patients was also evaluated. The secondary objective was to compare maintenance of clinical response and remission with REMICADE® 5 mg/kg administered every 8 weeks or every 12 weeks. REMICADE® 5 mg/kg administered every 12 weeks is not an approved dosing regimen.

Patients included in the trial had moderate to severe CD (Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index [PCDAI] >30). Induction of clinical response, the primary endpoint, was evaluated 10 weeks after the initial infusion. At Week 54, clinical response, clinical remission and change from baseline in average daily corticosteroid use were evaluated as secondary efficacy endpoints. Clinical response was defined as a decrease of ≥15 in the PCDAI and a total PCDAI score of ≤30. Clinical remission was defined as a PCDAI score of ≤10.

Of the 112 patients enrolled in this study, 103 patients were subsequently randomized to REMICADE® 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks (n=52) or every 12 weeks (n=51) through Week 46.

REACH study findings1

Clinical response at Week 10, the primary endpoint, was achieved in 88% of the patients.

Response and Remission in REACHResponse and Remission in REACH
 
 
  REMICADE® 5 mg/kg
  Every 8 Weeks
Treatment Group
Every 12 Weeks
Treatment Group
Patients Randomized 52 51
Clinical Response*    
Week 30 73% 47%
Week 54 64% 33%
Clinical Remission    
Week 30 60%§ 35%
Week 54 56% 24%
 
 
*
Defined as a decrease from baseline in PCDAI score of ≥15 points and in total PCDAI score of ≤30 points.
 
Defined as a PCDAI score of ≤10 points.
 
P<0.01
 
§
P<0.05
 

In pediatric patients with CD receiving REMICADE® every 8 weeks, 70% (17/24) eliminated steroid use through Week 54 (P<0.001).1

REMICADE® is indicated for reducing signs and symptoms and inducing and maintaining clinical remission in adult and pediatric patients with moderately to severely active Crohn's disease (CD) who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy.

Reference:
  1. Hyams J, Crandall W, Kugathasan S, et al, and the REACH Study Group. Induction and maintenance infliximab therapy for the treatment of moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease in children. Gastroenterology. 2007;132:863-873.

 

REMICADE® is indicated for:

Crohn's Disease
  • Reducing signs and symptoms and inducing and maintaining clinical remission in adult patients with moderately to severely active Crohn's disease (CD) who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy
  • Reducing the number of draining enterocutaneous and rectovaginal fistulas and maintaining fistula closure in adult patients with fistulizing CD
Pediatric Crohn's Disease
  • Reducing signs and symptoms and inducing and maintaining clinical remission in pediatric patients 6 years of age or older with moderately to severely active CD who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy
Ulcerative Colitis
  • Reducing signs and symptoms, inducing and maintaining clinical remission and mucosal healing, and eliminating corticosteroid use in adult patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy
Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis
  • Reducing signs and symptoms and inducing and maintaining clinical remission in pediatric patients 6 years of age and older with moderately to severely active UC who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy
Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Reducing signs and symptoms, inhibiting the progression of structural damage, and improving physical function in patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in combination with methotrexate (MTX)
Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Reducing signs and symptoms of active arthritis, inhibiting the progression of structural damage, and improving physical function in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Reducing signs and symptoms in patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
Plaque Psoriasis
  • The treatment of adult patients with chronic severe (ie, extensive and/or disabling) plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy and when other systemic therapies are medically less appropriate

 

SERIOUS INFECTIONS

Patients treated with REMICADE® (infliximab) are at increased risk for developing serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death. Most patients who developed these infections were taking concomitant immunosuppressants such as methotrexate or corticosteroids. Discontinue REMICADE® if a patient develops a serious infection or sepsis.

Reported infections include:

  • Active tuberculosis (TB), including reactivation of latent TB. Patients frequently presented with disseminated or extrapulmonary disease. Patients should be tested for latent TB before and during treatment with REMICADE®.1,2 Treatment for latent infection should be initiated prior to treatment with REMICADE®.
  • Invasive fungal infections, including histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, candidiasis, aspergillosis, blastomycosis and pneumocystosis. Patients may present with disseminated, rather than localized, disease. Empiric anti-fungal therapy should be considered in patients at risk for invasive fungal infections who develop severe systemic illness.
  • Bacterial, viral, and other infections due to opportunistic pathogens, including Legionella and Listeria.

The risks and benefits of treatment with REMICADE® should be carefully considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with chronic or recurrent infection. Closely monitor patients for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with REMICADE®, including the possible development of TB in patients who tested negative for latent TB infection prior to initiating therapy.

Risk of infection may be higher in patients greater than 65 years of age, pediatric patients, patients with co-morbid conditions and/or patients taking concomitant immunosuppressant therapy. In clinical trials, other serious infections observed in patients treated with REMICADE® included pneumonia, cellulitis, abscess, and skin ulceration.

MALIGNANCIES

Lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in children and adolescent patients treated with TNF blockers, including REMICADE®. Approximately half of these cases were lymphomas, including Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The other cases represented a variety of malignancies, including rare malignancies that are usually associated with immunosuppression and malignancies that are not usually observed in children and adolescents. The malignancies occurred after a median of 30 months after the first dose of therapy. Most of the patients were receiving concomitant immunosuppressants.

Postmarketing cases of hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of T-cell lymphoma, have been reported in patients treated with TNF blockers, including REMICADE®. These cases have had a very aggressive disease course and have been fatal. All reported REMICADE® cases have occurred in patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and the majority were in adolescent and young adult males. All of these patients had received treatment with azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine concomitantly with REMICADE® at or prior to diagnosis. Carefully assess the risks and benefits of treatment with REMICADE®, especially in these patient types.

In clinical trials of all TNF inhibitors, more cases of lymphoma were observed compared with controls and the expected rate in the general population. However, patients with Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or plaque psoriasis may be at higher risk for developing lymphoma. In clinical trials of some TNF inhibitors, including REMICADE®, more cases of other malignancies were observed compared with controls. The rate of these malignancies among patients treated with REMICADE® was similar to that expected in the general population whereas the rate in control patients was lower than expected. Cases of acute and chronic leukemia have been reported with postmarketing TNF-blocker use. As the potential role of TNF inhibitors in the development of malignancies is not known, caution should be exercised when considering treatment of patients with a current or a past history of malignancy or other risk factors such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma have been reported in patients treated with TNF-blocker therapy, including REMICADE®. Periodic skin examination is recommended for all patients, particularly those with risk factors for skin cancer.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

REMICADE® is contraindicated in patients with moderate to severe (NYHA Class III/IV) congestive heart failure (CHF) at doses greater than 5 mg/kg. Higher mortality rates at the 10 mg/kg dose and higher rates of cardiovascular events at the 5 mg/kg dose have been observed in these patients. REMICADE® should be used with caution and only after consideration of other treatment options. Patients should be monitored closely. Discontinue REMICADE® if new or worsening CHF symptoms appear. REMICADE® should not be (re)administered to patients who have experienced a severe hypersensitivity reaction or to patients with hypersensitivity to murine proteins or other components of the product.

HEPATITIS B REACTIVATION

TNF inhibitors, including REMICADE®, have been associated with reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients who are chronic carriers. Some cases were fatal. Patients should be tested for HBV infection before initiating REMICADE®. For patients who test positive, consult a physician with expertise in the treatment of hepatitis B. Exercise caution when prescribing REMICADE® for patients identified as carriers of HBV and monitor closely for active HBV infection during and following termination of therapy with REMICADE®. Discontinue REMICADE® in patients who develop HBV reactivation and initiate antiviral therapy with appropriate supportive treatment. Exercise caution when considering resumption of REMICADE® and monitor patients closely.

HEPATOTOXICITY

Severe hepatic reactions, including acute liver failure, jaundice, hepatitis, and cholestasis have been reported rarely in patients receiving REMICADE® postmarketing. Some cases were fatal or required liver transplant. Aminotransferase elevations were not noted prior to discovery of liver injury in many cases. Patients with symptoms or signs of liver dysfunction should be evaluated for evidence of liver injury. If jaundice and/or marked liver enzyme elevations (eg, ≥5 times the upper limit of normal) develop, REMICADE® should be discontinued, and a thorough investigation of the abnormality should be undertaken.

HEMATOLOGIC EVENTS

Cases of leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and pancytopenia (some fatal) have been reported. The causal relationship to REMICADE® therapy remains unclear. Exercise caution in patients who have ongoing or a history of significant hematologic abnormalities. Advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if they develop signs and symptoms of blood dyscrasias or infection. Consider discontinuation of REMICADE® in patients who develop significant hematologic abnormalities.

HYPERSENSITIVITY

REMICADE® has been associated with hypersensitivity reactions that differ in their time of onset. Acute urticaria, dyspnea, and hypotension have occurred in association with infusions of REMICADE®. Serious infusion reactions including anaphylaxis were infrequent. Medications for the treatment of hypersensitivity reactions should be available.

NEUROLOGIC EVENTS

TNF inhibitors, including REMICADE®, have been associated in rare cases with CNS manifestation of systemic vasculitis, seizure, and new onset or exacerbation of CNS demyelinating disorders, including multiple sclerosis and optic neuritis, and peripheral demyelinating disorders, including Guillain-Barré syndrome. Exercise caution when considering REMICADE® in patients with these disorders and consider discontinuation if these disorders develop.

AUTOIMMUNITY

Treatment with REMICADE® may result in the formation of autoantibodies and, rarely, in development of a lupus-like syndrome. Discontinue treatment if symptoms of a lupus-like syndrome develop.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

In clinical trials, the most common REMICADE® adverse reactions occurring in >10% of patients included infections (eg, upper respiratory, sinusitis, and pharyngitis),
infusion-related reactions, headache, and abdominal pain.

USE WITH OTHER DRUGS

Concomitant use of REMICADE® with anakinra, abatacept, tocilizumab, or other biologics used to treat the same conditions as REMICADE® is not recommended because of the possibility of an increased risk of infection. Care should be taken when switching from one biologic to another, since overlapping biological activity may further increase the risk of infection.

LIVE VACCINES/THERAPEUTIC INFECTIOUS AGENTS

Live vaccines or therapeutic infectious agents should not be given with REMICADE® due to the possibility of clinical infections, including disseminated infections.

Bring pediatric patients up to date with all vaccinations prior to initiating REMICADE®. Exercise caution in the administration of live vaccines to infants born to female patients treated with REMICADE® during pregnancy.

For more information, please see full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for REMICADE®. Provide the Medication Guide to your patients and encourage discussion. (Requires Adobe® Reader®. Click here to download.)

References:

1. American Thoracic Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Targeted tuberculin testing and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000;161:S221-S247.

2. See latest Centers for Disease Control guidelines and recommendations for tuberculosis testing in immunocompromised patients.