Dan Turner *
Pediatric inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are similar to the adult-onset type in many aspects, including the necessity of high-quality randomized-controlled trials. However, recruiting children into clinical trials is conceptually more challenging than in adults. Furthermore, the long delay between adult and pediatric approval of new drugs leads not only to the unbearable extensive use of these drugs as off-label without appropriate dosing and safety data, but also to more challenges when eventually the pediatric trial is performed. This review offers possible solutions to age-specific pitfalls in performing trials in pediatric IBD. Many of the challenges could be adequately addressed by accepting full extrapolation of efficacy from adult trials. This is advisable if small pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) studies show similarity to adult data. Then, pediatric trials can focus on dosing and safety while avoiding the controversial use of placebo. Judicious use of non-invasive activity scores and biomarkers, providing immediate and effective treatment in active disease and ensuring equipoise of treatments both within and outside the trial are the mainstay of a feasible trial in children. The recent trend of including adolescents in adult phase-3 trials addresses some obstacles but introduces others. Acknowledging and addressing these age-specific challenges would facilitate pediatric drug development in IBD.
children, pediatrics, clinical trials, design, placebo, inflammatory bowel diseases, endpoints, biologics
Shaare Zedek Medical Center, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem