HORSHAM, Pa. Patients who had not received previous treatment recovered and healed better when taking a Johnson & Johnson biotech drug for Crohn’s disease than when taking a common generic drug for the disease, according to post-marketing clinical trial results published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Results of a phase 4 study comparing J&J’s Remicade (infliximab) with azathioprine showed that a larger number of patients had steroid-free remission and mucosal healing when taking Remicade than when they took azathioprine. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory, autoimmune disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that affects around half a million Americans.
“The results provide new insights into the benefits of starting Remicade alone or in combination with azathioprine –– earlier in the treatment of moderate to severe Crohn’s disease,” principal study investigator and medicine professor of France’s Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Lille Jean-Frederic Colombel said.
The investigators found that after 26 weeks, 57% of patients taking Remicade and azathioprine together and 44% of those taking Remicade alone had remission of their disease without steroids, compared with 30% of those taking azathioprine alone.