It is often difficult to manage refractory gastrointestinal tract complications of Behçet's disease (entero-BD) by conventional therapy. In this study, we assessed the short- and long-term efficacy and safety of the combination therapy of infliximab, an anti-tumor-necrosisfactor (TNF)-α antibody, and methotrexate in ten patients with refractory entero-BD refractory to conventional therapies. The short- (weeks) and long-term (by 2 years) effects of infliximab at 3-5 mg/kg body weight every 8 weeks on the clinical course and intestinal manifestations were assessed by abdominal computed tomography (CT) and colonoscopy. The primary endpoint was the rate of disappearance of ileocecal ulceration at 12 months of therapy. All patients showed improvement of gastrointestinal symptoms and disease-associated complications within 4 weeks. Furthermore, the rate of disappearance of ileocecal ulcerations was 50% (5/10 patients) at 6 months and 90% (9/10 patients) at 12 months, and, therefore 90% of patients were satisfied with the primary endpoint. Furthermore, corticosteroid dose was significantly reduced from 22.0 to 1.8 mg/day at 24 months. No severe adverse effects were observed during the 24 months of follow-up. We provide evidence for the rapid and excellent efficacy of infliximab in patients with refractory entero-BD and that the combination of infliximab and methotrexate brings about long-term alleviation of entero-BD and excellent tolerability.
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