Background: TNF-α inhibitory drugs are widely used with beneficial effect in the treatment of rheumatic diseases, such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Due to the complex immune regulatory function of TNF-α, induction of inflammation in several organs including the eye, skin, and gastrointestinal tract has been reported. This report describes the occurrence of intraocular inflammation after treatment with the TNF-α antagonist etanercept. Methods: In this observational case series, we followed and examined six patients receiving etanercept for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, adult Still's disease, or psoriasis. Result: All patients responded well to their joint affliction, but developed endogenous uveitis for the first time after application of etanercept. Following acute intervention with corticosteroids, etanercept was discontinued and instead an antibody-based anti-TNF treatment using infliximab was instituted. We documented visual acuity before and after change from etanercept to treatment with the anti-TNF-α antibody infliximab. Interestingly, prompt long-term remission (mean 34 months) of uveitis without recurrence could be induced in all patients. Conclusions: Our observations may indicate that immunodysregulatory and even proinflammatory effects of etanercept are of relevance in clinical practice. Further randomized controlled clinical trials are necessary to investigate possible side effects of anti-TNF therapy using etanercept and infliximab.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)