Biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARD) have transformed the treatment paradigm of chronic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs), but they are often associated with adverse drug reactions. The present study evaluated the frequency, characteristics and type of infections, other than tuberculosis (TB), in ARD patients receiving bDMARDs. The multicentre, cross-sectional, retrospective, observational study was conducted across 12 centers in Karnataka, India, between January to August 2016. The study included patients receiving bDMARD therapy for various ARDs. Outcome variables considered were any infection, minor infections and major infections, other than TB. Clinical variables were compared between infection and no infection group, and the increase in the likelihood of infection with respect to various clinical variables was assessed. The study involved 209 subjects with a median (range) age of 41 (16–84) years and male to female ratio of 0.97:1. A total of 29 (13.88%) subjects developed infection following bDMARD therapy, out of whom a majority had minor infection (n = 26). The likelihood of developing any infection was noted to be more in subjects receiving anti-TNF (golimumab, P = 0.03) and those on three or more conventional synthetic (cs) DMARDs (P < 0.01). Infection risk was higher in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (P = 0.04), other connective tissue disease (P < 0.01) and in patients with comorbidities (P = 0.13). The risk of infection was associated with the use of anti-TNF therapy and more than three csDMARDs, co morbidities and Adds such as systemic lupus erythematosus and connective tissue disease.
bDMARDs Infection ARDs csDMARDS Comorbidities
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Karnataka Rheumatology Association (Association of rheumatologists).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Authors S. Chandrashekara, Vineeta Shobha, Vijay Rao, Anu Desai, Ramesh Jois, B. G. Dharmanand, Sharath Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Chethana Dharmapalaiah, Kurugodu Mathada Mahendranath, Shiva Prasad, Manisha Ashwin Daware, Yogesh Singh, Uma Karjigi, Nagaraj S, and K. R. Anupama declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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