Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is important in optimizing use of biologics in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). However, the role of proactive TDM during remission remains uncertain.
This retrospective study included patients receiving infliximab (IFX) therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital or Erasmus University Medical Center. All eligible patients had completed induction phase of IFX and were in clinical and endoscopic remission. Our primary outcome was clinical relapse within 2 years after baseline. Multivariable regression models examined the association between infliximab trough levels during remission and relapse, need for IBD-related surgery or hospitalization.
Our study cohort included 110 patients with IBD (72 CD, 38 UC) on IFX maintenance therapy. In total, 12 patients (10.9%) experienced relapse of disease over 2 years. The mean IFX trough level at baseline was 8.0 µg/mL (± 8.6) and did not differ between the institutions. 49.1% of patients had levels < 5 µg/mL and 2.7% had antibodies to infliximab at baseline. There was no difference in the mean IFX trough levels between patients who relapsed (7.5 µg/mL ± 3.7 µg/mL) over 24 months compared to those who did not (8.1 µg/mL ± 7.9 µg/mL, p = 0.815). On multivariable logistic regression analysis, IFX trough levels at baseline were not associated with relapse of disease over 24 months (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.93-1.09, p = 0.856).
This retrospective multicenter study provides evidence that IFX trough levels during quiescent disease do not predict relapse over 2 years, suggestive that proactive TDM in this setting is not warranted.