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30 August 2013 : Original article  

Effect of azathioprine or mesalazine therapy on incidence of re-hospitalization in sub-occlusive ileocecal Crohn’s disease patients

Gláucio Silva de SouzaABE, Fernando Mendonça VidigalABDE, Liliana Andrade ChebliEF, Tarsila Campanha da Rocha RibeiroEF, Maria Cristina Vasconcellos FurtadoBF, Fábio Heleno de Lima PaceDF, Leonardo Duque de Miranda ChavesBF, Karine Andrade de Oliveira ZaniniBF, Pedro Duarte GaburriADE, Fernando de Azevedo LuccaBF, Alexandre ZaniniCD, Luiz Cláudio RibeiroCD, Julio Maria Fonseca ChebliABDEG

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889196

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:716-722

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although the cost of Crohn’s disease (CD) treatment differs considerably, hospitalization and surgery costs account for most of the total treatment cost. Decreasing hospitalization and surgery rates are pivotal issues in reducing health-care costs.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We evaluated the effect of azathioprine (AZA) compared with mesalazine on incidence of re-hospitalizations due to all causes and for CD-related surgeries. In this controlled, randomized study, 72 subjects with sub-occlusive ileocecal CD were randomized for AZA (2–3 mg/kg per day) or mesalazine (3.2 g per day) therapy during a 3-year period. The primary end point was the re-hospitalization proportion due to all causes, as well as for surgical procedures during this period evaluated between the groups.

RESULTS: On an intention-to-treat basis, the proportion of patients re-hospitalized within 36 months due to all causes was lower in patients treated with AZA compared to those on mesalazine (0.39 vs. 0.83, respectively; p=0.035). The AZA group had also significantly lower proportions of re-hospitalization for surgical intervention (0.25 vs. 0.56, respectively; p=0.011). The number of admissions (0.70 vs. 1.41, p=0.001) and the length of re-hospitalization (3.8 vs. 7.7 days; p=0.002) were both lower in AZA patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with sub-occlusive ileocecal CD treated with AZA had lower re-hospitalization rates due to all causes and for surgical management of CD compared to those treated with mesalazine during a 3-year period. The long-term use of AZA in ileocecal CD patients recovering from a sub-occlusion episode can save healthcare costs.

Keywords: Crohn Disease - surgery, Azathioprine - therapeutic use, Incidence, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Mesalamine - therapeutic use, Patient Readmission - statistics & numerical data

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Dinah V. Parums
Science Editor, Medical Science Monitor, International Scientific Information, Inc., Melville, NY, USA

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750