Adalimumab as Treatment for Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis

Earlier this year, adalimumab (Humira) was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of moderate to severe ulcerative colitis in patients ≥ 5 years of age.

The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor was shown to lead to clinical remission at various dose levels. In fact, the drug was considered safe and well-tolerated by the patient population.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Marla Dubinsky, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai discussed the implications of this approval for pediatric treatment strategies.

“Options are always good. It’s not one size fits all, ”she said, noting that the drug bears a resemblance to infliximab (Remicade), another biologic approved in 2011 for pediatric ulcerative colitis. Infliximab also targets TNF.

However, Dubinsky explained that such patients who have taken infliximab but have not responded to treatment now have an option on adalimumab. And yet this switch can take place in both directions.

“It’s not like it’s linear in any direction,” she said. “However, I think this shows that if we can give more patients access to early effective therapies – be it infliximab or adalimumab – that’s the key message.”

As such, children with ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel disease may view adalimumab’s approval as a promising sign that more, effective therapies may one day become available to them.

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