Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by a relapsing-remitting course with trans-mural inflammation of potentially any section of the digestive tract. Adalimumab (ADA) is a subcutaneously administered, recombinant, fully human, IgG1 monoclonal antibody that binds with high affinity and specificity to human TNF-alpha, thus modulating its biologic functions and its proinflammatory effects.
To review the available data on ADA in CD for biological properties, efficacy, and safety.
Electronic searches were conducted using the Pubmed and SCOPUS databases from the earliest records to April 2008. The search terms used were “adalimumab”, “anti-TNF”, “TNF-alpha”, “biologicals”, “inflammatory bowel disease”, and “Crohn’s disease”. Reference lists of all relevant articles were searched for further studies.
Available studies suggest that ADA has the potential to induce and maintain clinical response and remission in moderate-severe CD, both in anti-TNF-naïve patients and in subjects who lost their response and/or became intolerant to infliximab (IFX). ADA seems also effective in maintaining corticosteroid-free remission and obtaining complete fistula closure (although no specific randomized trials are available). No concomitant immunosuppressors seem to be necessary. Side effects appear similar to IFX, while site-injection reactions are frequent and specific. Data on immunogenicity and its clinical impact are uncertain.
ADA appears to be effective in inducing and maintain clinical remission in CD, including patients not manageable with IFX. Successive clinical practice and further on going trials will confirm a positive role for ADA as a new anti-TNF treatment in CD. The impact on clinical management or on resources should be more studied.