Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2002 Jun 22;146(25):1165-8
Derksen RH, Bijlsma JW.
Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, afd. Reumatologie & Klinische Immunologie, Postbus 85.500, 3508 GA Utrecht.
Monoclonal antibodies are increasingly used to modulate immunologically mediated diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis and systemic vasculitis.
Constructs of monoclonal antibodies to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) alpha differ with respect to their structure, effects and immunogenic side effects.
Clinical experience with TNF alpha-neutralizing therapy has revealed several other side effects over the past few years.
The most important is increased infection rates, especially the activation of (latent) tuberculosis, although other opportunistic infections such as listeriosis, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, histoplasmosis, candidiasis and aspergillosis have also been reported.
Furthermore, results from clinical studies indicate that TNF alpha-neutralizing therapy should not be given to patients with cardiac failure (NYHA class III or IV) or a history of demyelinating disease.
An increased incidence of malignancies has not been observed up to now, but data from the long-term follow-up are not yet available.