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Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie
The chimeric anti-TNF antibody Remicade (Infliximab) has recently been approved for human use by the FDA and is now available on the market. Since there is considerable interest in this kind of treatment among patients with Crohn''s disease, an international working group has summarized the presently available information about efficacy, side effects and possible problems of this treatment. Studies show that Remicade is effective in the treatment of active Crohn''s disease, maintaining remission and fistulae. The working group does not see Infliximab as a first-line treatment for Crohn''s disease. It may be used in active phase recurrent disease, chronic active disease and fistulae if standard treatment was not successful. For the surveillance special attention has to be given to the unknown malignancy rate of Infliximab. Infusion should be performed in an institution, routinely performing intravenous infusions and a two-hour surveillance of the patients should be guaranteed to recognize anaphylactic reactions or acute side effects. There is presently no information indication that the combination with immunosuppressants might increase risks or side effects of this treatment. Due to the limited information available the working group would prefer to use Remicade in studies only and recommends central collection and documentation of all data on efficacy and side effects for the next year.