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Humira Might Help Kids With Tough-to-Treat Crohn's Disease
Date:8/9/2012

THURSDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The "biologic" drug Humira could be an effective therapy for children with tough-to-treat Crohn's disease, a new study finds.

Crohn's disease is an inflammation of the digestive tract that can lead to swelling, pain and ulcers. Although the disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, the most common spot is the small intestine.

The new study revealed that treatment with Humira (adalimumab), could help children with Crohn's stay in remission without stunting their growth or delaying puberty, as can happen with other drugs currently used to treat the disease.

One expert not connected to the study welcomed the findings.

"This drug helps expand the available treatments to control inflammation in Crohn's disease," said Dr. Joseph Levy, a pediatric gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City.

"This is a welcome addition and it will improve the quality of life of many of our patients in whom less powerful anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs have been ineffective," added Levy, who is also a professor of pediatrics and director of the division of gastroenterology at the NYU School of Medicine.

Humira falls into the relatively new class of monoclonal antibody, "biologic" medicines known as TNF-alpha inhibitors. The study -- which was funded by Humira's maker, Abbott Laboratories -- involved 192 children aged 6 to 17 who were being treated for Crohn's disease at centers in North America and Europe. The children had not responded to conventional treatment.

Researchers led by Dr. Jeffrey Hyams of Connecticut Children's Medical Center, in Hartford, randomly assigned the children to either a low- or high-dose regimen. Children in the high-dose group received either 20 or 40 milligrams (mg) of Humira every other week, depending on their body weight. Children in the low-dose group received either 10 mg or 20 mg of Humira on the same
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