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A Journal on Internal Medicine
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,6
Panminerva Medica 2014 March;56(1):31-4
Anti-TNF-α and risk of infections: the experience in one center
Maruotti N., D’Onofrio F., Neve A., Santoro N., Corrado A., Cantatore F. P. ✉
Department of Rheumatology University of Foggia Medical School, Foggia, Italy
Aim: In the last years there is an increasing interest for the question of whether patients treated with antitumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) agents are at increased risk of infections. We aim to assess the possible role of anti-TNF-α treatment in the increase of the risk of infections in a population of patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.
Methods: We analyzed data of patients affected by chronic arthritis treated with anti-TNF-α to investigate the risk of infections. Statistical analysis was done using STATA software.
Results: The odds ratio for patients treated with anti-TNF-α who developed infections was 1.61 (CI: 0.88, 2.92, P<0.11). We found an odds ratio of 1.41 (CI: 0.74, 2.68, P<0.29) in patients treated with anti-TNF-α who developed urinary tract infection, and an odds ratio of 2.63 (CI: 0.31, 22.19, P<0.37) in patients treated with anti-TNF-α who developed herpes zoster.
Discussion: These results seems to indicate a role of anti-TNF-α treatment in the risk of infection. Nevertheless, our results are not statistically significant probably because the sample sizes are too small and the time of observation among patients is variable. Moreover, other confounding factors may be gender, age and the different degrees of disease activity and comorbidity. In conclusion, limitations in the study size and design preclude definitive conclusions about the question of whether patients treated with anti-TNF-α agents are at increased risk of infections. The performance of additional research are needed to answer this question.