Comparison of Adalimumab Serum Drug Levels When Delivered by Pen Versus Syringe in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease. An International, Multicentre Cohort Analysis

Robert D. Little, Isabel E. Chu, Esmerij P. van der Zanden, Emma Flanagan, Sally J. Bell, Peter R. Gibson, Miles P. Sparrow, Edward Shelton, Susan J. Connor, Xavier Roblin, Mark G. Ward

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2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Adalimumab is administered via a pre-filled syringe or spring-loaded pen. In a previous study in Crohn's disease, higher drug levels were observed in syringe users. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of delivery device on adalimumab drug levels in patients with Crohn's disease. METHODS: Consecutive Crohn's disease patients treated with maintenance adalimumab [40 mg fortnightly] were recruited from five centres. The first recorded drug level with matched clinical and biochemical markers of disease activity was compared between pen and syringe users. RESULTS: Of 218 patients, 64% used pen, with a median faecal calprotectin 110 μg/g and serum C-reactive protein 4 mg/L. In comparison to pen, syringe users had higher albumin [39 vs 42 g/L; p = 0.016], lower Harvey-Bradshaw Index [2 vs 1; p = 0.017], and higher rates of concomitant immunomodulation [54% vs 71%; p = 0.014]. Drug levels were equivalent between pen and syringe users [median 5.3 vs 5.2 μg/ml; p = 0.584], even after controlling for disease activity and immunomodulation. Syringe users at Alfred Health had higher drug levels than pen [6.1 vs 4.5 μg/ml; p = 0.039]; a greater proportion achieved therapeutic levels [75% vs 44%; p = 0.045]. A higher proportion of pen users from Saint-Étienne had therapeutic levels [79% vs 42%; p = 0.027], yet no significant difference in drug levels [7.9 vs 4.5 μg/ml; p = 0.119]. CONCLUSIONS: Delivery device does not appear to significantly affect adalimumab drug levels. Given differences between study sites, studies evaluating administration education and technique are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1527-1536
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019


  • adalimumab
  • Crohn’s disease
  • therapeutic drug monitoring

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