[5, 7, 8] Although direct comparisons of available anti-TNF agents in randomized controlled settings are not available, improvements in symptom control appear to be similar across agents.[5, 7, 8] Patients
with RA are known to be at high risk of infection and lymphoma. It is likely that this results from multiple factors, including the disease itself (through altered immunologic function), as well as due to comorbidities and pharmacotherapy.[9, 11] Although it is hypothesized that RA itself is a risk factor for increased infection, it is currently unknown how much RA may increase infection risk independent of related factors, such as treatment with DMARDs. learn more One study by Smitten et al. adjusted for confounders including comorbid conditions and prescription medication use and found an elevated hazard ratio for infection requiring hospitalization among patients with RA (2.03; 95% CI: 1.93–2.13). Both the tDMARDs and anti-TNF bDMARDs interrupt RA pathophysiology by targeting the inflammatory process. Anti-TNF www.selleckchem.com/products/ipilimumab.html agents target TNF, a key proinflammatory cytokine, by direct interference with receptor binding. However, TNF has a beneficial role in the immune system and in tumor surveillance. Therefore, interruption of the inflammatory cascade with anti-TNFs may also suppress immunologic response. Following the 1998 Carbohydrate introduction of two anti-TNF
agents (infliximab and etanercept), reports from the US Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System suggested
a higher incidence of tuberculosis (TB) and lymphoma in patients treated with these drugs. The close proximity of these events to anti-TNF therapy initiation, and the known immunosuppressive actions of anti-TNF agents, suggested a potential causal link. However, available data were limited and inadequate to make a clear association. The development of registries in several countries for patients treated with biologic agents, as well as the publication of a number of claims-based studies, has provided a larger database and longer timeframe from which to evaluate these safety endpoints. Despite differences in methodology, registry and health claims database studies conducted in the US and Western Europe have found a significantly higher risk for serious bacterial infection (SBI) with bDMARDs compared with tDMARDs.[6, 15-17] Estimates of risk have been highly variable, ranging from a 20% to a 400% increase, and appear to be greatest during the first 6 months of treatment.[6, 15, 16] Compared with patients who have not received anti-TNF treatment, a higher incidence of TB has also been reported with anti-TNF agents in Korea, Spain, Sweden and the US.[18-21] The potential for negative safety endpoints among anti-TNF agents has also been explored.