FDA Clears Ustekinumab (Stelara) for Crohn's Disease

Megan Brooks

September 26, 2016

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ustekinumab (Stelara, Janssen Biotech, Inc) for the treatment of moderately to severely active Crohn's disease in patients aged 18 years or older.

Specifically, the interleukin-12/23 inhibitor is indicated for Crohn's patients who have failed or were intolerant to immunomodulator or corticosteroid therapy but who never failed treatment with a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker or who failed or were intolerant to treatment with one or more TNF blockers, according to a company news release.

Ustekinumab is already approved in the United States for treatment of patients with plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

"Crohn's disease is a complex condition to treat, and not all therapies work for every patient," William J. Sandborn, MD, chief, Division of Gastroenterology, and professor of medicine, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said in the release.

The FDA approval of ustekinumab is "an important advancement in treating patients with Crohn's disease, as this therapy offers an alternate mechanism of action to induce and maintain clinical remission over time. Based on the results of the clinical development program, Stelara has the potential to benefit many adults living with Crohn's disease," added Dr Sandborn, who was an investigator on the studies of ustekinumab in Crohn's disease.

The clinical development program for ustekinumab for Crohn's disease included more than 1300 patients across three pivotal phase 3 studies, which served as the primary basis for FDA approval.

In clinical studies of patients who were either new to, experienced with, or failed anti-TNF therapy, between 34% and 56% of patients experienced symptom relief in the 6 weeks after receiving a one-time intravenous induction dose of ustekinumab. "Noticeable improvement was observed as early as 3 weeks," the company said.

Most patients who responded to induction dosing and who continued ustekinumab treatment with subcutaneous maintenance doses every 8 weeks were in remission at the end of 44 weeks (52 weeks from initiation of the induction dose), the company said.

Full prescribing information and a medication guide are available online.


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