Indexed on: 06 Jul '14Published on: 06 Jul '14Published in: Rheumatology (Oxford, England)
The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of anti-TNF-α therapy in refractory uveitis due to Behçet's disease (BD).We performed a multicentre study of 124 patients with BD uveitis refractory to conventional treatment including high-dose corticosteroids and at least one standard immunosuppressive agent. Patients were treated for at least 12 months with infliximab (IFX) (3-5 mg/kg at 0, 2 and 6 weeks and then every 4-8 weeks) or adalimumab (ADA) (usually 40 mg every 2 weeks). The main outcome measures were degree of anterior and posterior chamber inflammation, visual acuity, macular thickness and immunosuppression load.Sixty-eight men and 56 women (221 affected eyes) were studied. The mean age was 38.6 years (s.d. 10.4). HLA-B51 was positive in 66.1% of patients and uveitis was bilateral in 78.2%. IFX was the first biologic agent in 77 cases (62%) and ADA was first in 47 (38%). In most cases anti-TNF-α drugs were used in combination with conventional immunosuppressive drugs. At the onset of anti-TNF-α therapy, anterior chamber and vitreous inflammation was observed in 57% and 64.4% of patients, respectively. In both conditions the damage decreased significantly after 1 year. At baseline, 50 patients (80 eyes) had macular thickening [optical coherence tomography (OCT) >250 μm] and 35 (49 eyes) had cystoid macular oedema (OCT>300 μm) that improved from 420 μm (s.d. 119.5) at baseline to 271 μm (s.d. 45.6) at month 12 (P < 0.01). The best-corrected visual acuity and the suppression load also showed significant improvement. After 1 year of follow-up, 67.7% of patients were inactive. Biologic therapy was well tolerated in most cases.Anti-TNF-α therapy is effective and relatively safe in refractory BD uveitis.