A. Giardina, D. Ferraro, F. Ciccia, A. Ferrante, R. Di Stefano, A. Craxì, G. Triolo
Dipartimento Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica, Sezione di Reumatologia, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy. email@example.com
The widespread use of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-targeted therapies in patients with rheumatic, digestive and dermatologic diseases has been associated with reports of reactivation of HBV replication and ensuing hepatitis flares both in asymptomatic HBsAg carriers and in subjects with occult HBV infection. The aim of our work was to investigate in a two-year prospective study the potential for HBV reactivation in patients with inflammatory joint diseases undergoing anti-TNF treatment from a southern Mediterranean area.
Fifty-seven consecutive outpatients attending the Academic Unit of Rheumatology at the University of Palermo (12 with rheumatoid arthritis, 17 with psoriatic arthritis and 28 with ankylosing spondylitis) were enrolled in the study. HBV-DNA was tested by a standard quantitative assay in HBsAg-positive subjects and by an ad hoc highly sensitive PCR in HBsAg-negative patients performed at baseline and then every six months on the anti-TNF agent.
Occult HBV-DNA was never detected in the 54 HBsAg negative subjects, regardless of their anti HBs/HBc status. All HBsAg positive patients, who were started on prophylactic lamivudine, remained HBV-DNA undetectable throughout the anti-TNF treatment.
Even in an area of previously high HBV endemicity, where occult HBV infection is likely to have a high prevalence, treatment of rheumatological patients with anti-TNF drugs is safe in terms of its potential to reactivate HBV. Prophylaxis with lamivudine is sufficient to prevent reactivation in HBsAg carriers.
PMID: 22935442 [PubMed]
Received: 31/07/2011 - Accepted : 16/03/2012 - In Press: 30/08/2012 - Published: 28/01/2013