Adverse reactions to infliximab and the outcome of desensitization

Ahmad A. Mourad, Moheb N. Boktor, Yesim Yilmaz-Demirdag, Sami L. Bahna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background Infliximab is a highly effective monoclonal antibody against tumor necrosis factor, which is a major inflammatory mediator in certain gastrointestinal, rheumatic, and skin diseases. In some patients, infliximab infusion causes systemic adverse reactions that often lead to discontinuation of therapy even in responsive patients. Objective To investigate the frequency and characteristics of adverse reactions to infliximab at the authors' institution and the outcome of their management, including desensitization. Methods This was a single-center retrospective study of patients who were treated with infliximab, primarily for inflammatory bowel disease, from January 1, 2000 to March 31, 2014. Data included age, sex, underlying disease, infliximab therapy duration before the first reaction, manifestation of reaction, onset, and management. Results There were 336 patients with inflammatory bowel disease who were treated with infliximab during the study period. Thirty patients (8.9%) developed a systemic adverse reaction to infliximab, which was discontinued in 15 patients (50%) and was continued in 3 patients after premedication and/or decreased infusion rate. Twelve patients (40%) underwent infliximab desensitization with gradually increasing doses starting at a dilution of 0.1 mg/mL to reach the full treatment dose over approximately 4 to 6 hours. It was successful in all 12 patients, who continued to receive up to 26 infliximab infusions, mostly without premedication. Conclusion Infliximab can trigger systemic reactions that hinder its administration. The present desensitization protocol appears to be safe and effective and it can be considered in patients whose inflammatory bowel disease responds well to infliximab but who develop systemic adverse reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-146
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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