Risks and benefits of the use of concomitant immunosuppressives and biologics in inflammatory bowel disease

Shamita B. Shah, Stephen B. Hanauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


With the introduction of biologic therapies for inflammatory bowel disease, significant questions have arisen regarding their best optimization. Although initial recommendations were to combine immunosuppressives with biologies to reduce immunogenicity, trials with 3 different anti-tumor necrosis factor agents (infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab) and a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets alpha-4 integrins (natalizumab) have failed to demonstrate the clinical superiority of combination therapy when high-dose induction and scheduled maintenance therapy was prescribed for up to 1 year. However, immunosuppressive agents should be considered with episodic biologic therapy to decrease immunogenicity and secondary loss of response. The issue of whether induction with biologies and maintenance therapy with immunosuppressives as monotherapy is as safe and effective as induction and maintenance with biologies alone still remains to be addressed. Further, with the use of concomitant immunosuppressives and biologies, evolving data raise concerns for an increase in adverse events, including opportunistic infections, neurological disorders, and cancer. Specific therapeutic decisions need to be individualized and the clinician must help the patient weigh quality-of-life issues with readiness to assume possible risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalReviews in gastroenterological disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Anti-TNFs
  • Biologics
  • Crohn's disease
  • Immunogenicity
  • Immunosuppressives
  • Maintenance therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Risks and benefits of the use of concomitant immunosuppressives and biologics in inflammatory bowel disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this