Objectives:Refractory celiac disease (RCD) is a rare condition often associated with poor prognosis. Various immunosuppressive medications (IMs) have been used with modest success. We describe outcomes in patients treated with open-capsule budesonide (OB), including those for whom IM treatment failed.Methods:We identified RCD patients treated with OB at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota from 2003 to 2015. Demographic, serologic, and clinical variables were analyzed.Results:We identified 57 patients who received OB for suspected RCD. Based on clonal T-cell receptor gamma gene rearrangement or aberrant phenotype of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs), 13 patients (23%) were classified as having RCD-2 and 43 (75%) as RCD-1. In one patient (2%) TCR gene rearrangement status was unknown. Most patients were women (69%), mean (s.d.) age was 60.5 (3.5) years and body mass index was 28.4 (4.5) kg/m2. The majority had diarrhea (72%), with median of 6 bowel movements per day (range, 4–25). IM treatment (azathioprine, systemic corticosteroids, or regular budesonide) had failed in nearly half. Twenty-four patients (42%) had anemia and 12 (21%) had hypoalbuminemia. All had Marsh 3 lesions on biopsy: 3a (19%), 3b (46%), and 3c (35%). After OB therapy, the majority had clinical (92%) and histologic (89%) improvement. Follow-up biopsy in 7 out of 13 patients with RCD-2 (53%) showed an absence of clonal TCR gamma gene rearrangement/aberrant IEL phenotype previously seen. On follow-up, 2 patients (4%) died of enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma.Conclusions:Most patients with RCD show clinical and histopathologic improvement with OB therapy, including those with failure of IMs. OB is a promising therapeutic option for management of RCD.Am J Gastroenterol advance online publication, 21 March 2017; doi:10.1038/ajg.2017.71.
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