Abstract: Objective: In a large series of White patients with refractory uveitis due to Behçet disease (BD) being treated with infliximab (IFX), we assessed (1) long-term efficacy and safety of IFX, and (2) IFX optimization when ocular remission was achieved.
Methods: Our multicenter study of IFX-treated patients with BD uveitis refractory to conventional immunosuppressant agents treated 103 patients/185 affected eyes with IFX as first biologic therapy in the following intervals: 3-5 mg/kg intravenous at 0, 2, 6, and then every 4-8 weeks. The main outcome variables were analyzed at baseline, first week, first month, sixth month, first year, and second year of IFX therapy. After remission, based on a shared decision between patient and clinician, IFX optimization was performed. Efficacy, safety, and cost of IFX therapy were evaluated.
Results: In the whole series (n = 103), main outcome variables showed a rapid and maintained improvement, reaching remission in 78 patients after a mean IFX duration of 31.5 months. Serious adverse events were observed in 9 patients: infusion reactions (n = 4), tuberculosis (n = 1), Mycobacterium avium pneumonia (n = 1), severe oral ulcers (n = 1), palmoplantar psoriasis (n = 1), and colon carcinoma (n = 1). In the optimization subanalysis, the comparative study between optimized and nonoptimized groups showed (1) no differences in clinical characteristics at baseline, (2) similar maintained improvement in most ocular outcomes, (3) lower severe adverse events, and (4) lower mean IFX costs in the optimized group (€4826.52 vs €9854.13 per patient/yr).
Conclusion: IFX seems to be effective and relatively safe in White patients with refractory BD uveitis. IFX optimization is effective, safe, and cost-effective.
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