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Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Jun;45(3):252-7.

Differential efficacy of tumor necrosis factor inhibition in the management of inflammatory eye disease and associated rheumatic disease.

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Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201-4197, USA.



To evaluate the clinical usefulness of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors in patients with inflammatory eye disease that is resistant to conventional immunosuppressive therapies.


Sixteen patients (4 males and 12 females aged 7 to 78 years) who received etanercept (n = 14) or infliximab (n = 2) for either inflammatory eye disease or associated joint disease were studied retrospectively to determine the effect of these medications on their ocular inflammation.


Nine cases of uveitis and 7 cases of scleritis were treated. Systemic diagnoses included rheumatoid arthritis (n = 8), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (n = 3), ankylosing spondylitis (n = 1), and psoriatic spondylarthropathy (n = 1). Three patients had uveitis without associated systemic disease. Although 12 of 12 patients with active articular inflammation (100%) experienced improvement in joint disease, only 6 of 16 with ocular inflammation (38%) experienced improvement in eye disease. Five patients developed inflammatory eye disease for the first time while taking a TNF inhibitor. No patient discontinued treatment because of adverse drug effects.


TNF inhibitors are well tolerated immunosuppressive medications that may benefit certain subgroups of patients with inflammatory eye disease, but they appear to be more effective in controlling associated inflammatory arthritis.

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