Background & Aims: Infliximab (IFX) is an anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha agent used in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) therapy. Usually, it is administered over a 2-hour intravenous infusion. However, shortening the infusion duration to 1 hour has proved to be feasible and safe. In the present study we evaluated whether shortening the IFX infusion could affect the patients' quality of life (QoL) compared to the standard protocol.

Methods: Subjects affected by IBD receiving IFX were prospectively recruited. The main criterion to shorten the infusion was the absence of IFX-related adverse reactions during the previous three 2-h infusions. For each patient, demographic, clinical and anthropometric data were collected. A questionnaire investigating their overall/job/social/sexual QoL was administered. Ordinal regression was performed with odds ratios (OR) for significant independent variables.

Results: Eighty-one patients were included (46 with ulcerative colitis - UC, 35 with Crohn's disease - CD). Sixteen received the 2-h infusion due to previous adverse reactions, and the remaining 65 underwent the 1-h schedule. Shortening the infusion to 1 hour determined a better QoL (OR=0.626). However, the QoL was negatively influenced by age (OR=1.023), female sex (OR=2.04) and severe disease activity (OR=7.242). One-hour IFX infusion induced a better outcome on work (OR=0.588) and social (OR=0.643) QoL. Long-standing disease was correlated with a slightly better sexual QoL (OR=0.93). Conversely, older age (OR=1.046), severe clinical score (OR=15.579), use of other immunomodulators (OR=3.693) and perianal CD (OR=3.265) were related to an unsatisfactory sexual life. The total number of infusions (OR=0.891), proctitis (OR=0.062) or pancolitis (OR=0.1) minimized the perception of infusion-related side effects.

Conclusion: The 1-h short infusion improves overall, social and job QoL, so that, when indicated, it should be recommended.


inflammatory bowel disease, infliximab, short infusion duration, quality of life, adverse reactions