Author(s): Vigan M, Degasperi E, Aghemo A, Lampertico P, Colombo M
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Drugs targeting TNF-α biological activity are increasingly used for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and psoriasis. Since TNF-α is a mediator of the immune response against viral infections, use of TNF-α inhibitors in patients with concurrent HBV or HCV infection can promote viral reactivation and potentially fatal liver failure. AREAS COVERED: This paper reviews TNF mechanisms of action in viral hepatitis B and C, recommendations for managing HBV and HCV-infected patients receiving treatment with anti-TNF drugs, safety and anti-TNF hepatotoxicity. EXPERT OPINION: In hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers undergoing anti-TNF therapy, either anti-HBV treatment or prophylaxis is mandatory to prevent hepatitis reactivation, whereas HBsAg-negative antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) seropositive patients require watchful monitoring, only. Conversely, in HCV-infected patients, TNF-α inhibition by specific drugs is safe and could be even beneficial, as TNF-α pathways are involved in perpetuating liver inflammation and fibrosis progression in HCV. HBV- or HCV-infected patients should be referred to a hepatologist for expert clinical management whenever antiviral therapy is deemed necessary or hepatitis reactivation occurs.
This article was published in Expert Opin Biol Ther
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology