Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. Department of Pharmacy, School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom.
AIM: Infliximab is a tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitor that is being used to treat children with refractory Kawasaki disease. Our purpose was to evaluate the safety and the impact of infliximab versus intravenous immunoglobulins on the incidence of coronary artery aneurysms (CAAs) and treatment resistance in children with refractory Kawasaki disease (KD). METHODS The Medline/PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register
of Controlled Trials and clinical trials registries were searched to December 2021. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing infliximab as second-line therapy to a second dose of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in children with refractory KD, reported in abstract or full text were included. Studies were selected and assessed for risk of bias by two reviewers. Data were extracted and pooled using conventional random-effects meta-analysis. The certainty of evidence was assessed using the GRADE system. RESULTS A total of 199 participants from 4 RCTs were included. Pooled risk ratio (RR) for the incidence of treatment resistance in patients treated with infliximab was RR=0.40 (95% CI 0.25-0.64). For incidence of CAAs RR was 1.20 (95% CI 0.54-2.63), the incidence of adverse effect 'infusion reactions' RR=0.48, (95% CI 0.12-1.92), and 'infections' RR=0.55 (95% CI 0.27-1.12). Overall, the GRADE strength of evidence for the primary outcomes was low. Evidence on the duration of fever and inflammatory biomarkers was sparse, heterogeneous, and inconclusive. CONCLUSION Moderate-certainty evidence indicates that infliximab may reduce the incidence of treatment resistance in children with refractory KD. However, the limited strength of evidence warrants further research.