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Bratisl Lek Listy. 2008;109(4):164-7.

The effectiveness for prevention of tuberculosis in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases treated with TNF inhibitors.

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  • 1National Institute of Rheumatic Diseases, Piestany, Slovakia.



New biologic therapies blocking TNF undoubtly constitute a considerable advancement in the management mentioned diseases, but are also associated with higher risk of activation of tuberculosis.


An assessment of tuberculosis activation rate in the group of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis threated by anti-TNF inhibitors since January 1st 2001 to June 30th 2007 in Slovakia and went in for special anti-tuberculosis screening before start of therapy.


A total 537 rheumatic patients received the anti-TNF therapy. There were 346 rheumatoid arthritis patients, 68 juvenile idiopatic arthritis patients, 71 patients suffered from ankylosing spondylitis and 52 from psoriatic arthritis. Duration of anti-TNF therapy was 843 of patient-years. Infliximab took 203 patients with duration of therapy 348 patient-years, etanercept 201 patients with duration of therapy 331 patient-years and adalimumab 133 patients with duration of therapy 164 patient-years. The activation of tuberculosis reached the incidence 0.37% (2 cases for 537 patients) representing 0.237 cases for 100 patient-years. Both patients had extrapulmonary forms of tuberculosis which was in one patient disseminated, but they fully recovered after the anti-TNF drugs were stopped and chemotherapy was completed.


Our results demonstrate a low incidence of tuberculosis activation during anti-TNF treatment in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases in the Slovak Republic and confirm the high effectiveness ours specified complex screening measures (Tab. 3, Ref. 13). Full Text (Free, PDF)

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