Aim: Vedolizumab, a monoclonal antibody resulting in gut-selective anti-inflammatory activity, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2014 for use in patients with Crohn's disease (CD). The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of vedolizumab as a rescue therapy when other medical therapies have failed. Method: A retrospective review was performed on consecutive patients with CD receiving vedolizumab at the Penn State Hershey IBD Center between May 2014 and March 2016. These patients were unresponsive or intolerant to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist therapy, and previously would have been candidates for surgery. Outcomes included surgical intervention, clinical response and endoscopic improvement. Results: A total of 48 patients with medically refractory CD receiving vedolizumab were included. The median length of follow-up was 69 weeks (range 15–113 weeks). A majority (81%) of patients previously failed at least two TNF antagonists, and 77% had prior surgery for CD. Surgical intervention was required in 21 (44%) patients and 13 (27%) patients required intra-abdominal operations. At the conclusion of the study, 23 (48%) patients reported continued improvement of symptoms, and 22 of 37 (59%) patients undergoing endoscopy showed improvement. Patients with the inflammatory CD phenotype were more likely to improve clinically and avoid surgery. Conclusion: Vedolizumab alone or in combination with immunomodulators or steroids may be used as a rescue therapy in patients with medically refractory CD and may decrease the rate of surgical intervention. Patients with the inflammatory CD phenotype had the best clinical response and decreased need for surgery, suggesting that vedolizumab is most effective in the inflammatory phenotype.
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