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Dermatol Ther. 2015 May-Jun;28(3):158-65. doi: 10.1111/dth.12222. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Off-label use of TNF-alpha inhibitors in a dermatological university department: retrospective evaluation of 118 patients.

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Department of Dermatology, Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF)-alpha inhibitors are licensed for patients with severe refractory psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. However, TNF-alpha inhibitors have also been used off-label for various recalcitrant mucocutaneous diseases. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TNF-alpha inhibitors used for off-label dermatological indications. We retrospectively evaluated patient records of 118 patients treated off-label with TNF-alpha inhibitors in a dermatological university department. Patients presented with severe aphthous stomatitis/genital aphthous lesions (26), chronic urticaria (25), hidradenitis suppurativa (29), acne conglobata (11), dissecting cellulitis of the scalp (two), orofacial granulomatosis (four), sarcoidosis (four), granuloma annulare (two), granulomatous rosacea (one), granuloma faciale (one), subcorneal pustulosis (one), pyoderma gangrenosum (four), Sweet's syndrome (four), Well's syndrome (one), benign familial pemphigus (one), lichen planus (one), and folliculitis decalvans (one). A significant number of these patients went into remission during therapy with TNF-alpha inhibitors. A total of 11 patients (9%) experienced severe adverse effects during therapy. Off-label therapy with TNF-alpha inhibitors may be considered for selected patients with severe recalcitrant mucocutaneous diseases. The risk of severe adverse effects signals that a thorough benefit-risk assessment should be performed before initiating off-label treatment with TNF-alpha inhibitors for these conditions.


inflammatory disorders; mucous membrane disorders; therapy systemic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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