Off-label use of TNF-alpha inhibitors in a dermatological university department: retrospective evaluation of 118 patients

Hidradenitis suppurativa Research

Author(s): Sand FL, Thomsen SF

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF)-alpha inhibitors are licensed for patients with severe refractory psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. However, TNF-alpha inhibitors have also been used off-label for various recalcitrant mucocutaneous diseases. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TNF-alpha inhibitors used for off-label dermatological indications. We retrospectively evaluated patient records of 118 patients treated off-label with TNF-alpha inhibitors in a dermatological university department. Patients presented with severe aphthous stomatitis/genital aphthous lesions (26), chronic urticaria (25), hidradenitis suppurativa (29), acne conglobata (11), dissecting cellulitis of the scalp (two), orofacial granulomatosis (four), sarcoidosis (four), granuloma annulare (two), granulomatous rosacea (one), granuloma faciale (one), subcorneal pustulosis (one), pyoderma gangrenosum (four), Sweet’s syndrome (four), Well’s syndrome (one), benign familial pemphigus (one), lichen planus (one), and folliculitis decalvans (one). A significant number of these patients went into remission during therapy with TNF-alpha inhibitors. A total of 11 patients (9%) experienced severe adverse effects during therapy. Off-label therapy with TNF-alpha inhibitors may be considered for selected patients with severe recalcitrant mucocutaneous diseases. The risk of severe adverse effects signals that a thorough benefit-risk assessment should be performed before initiating off-label treatment with TNF-alpha inhibitors for these conditions.

Dermatology Journal and/or Publisher

Journal Name: Dermatologic therapy
Journal Abbreviation: Dermatol Ther
Journal Date Published: 2015-06-10

National Center for Biotechnology Information

PMID: 25731720
Article Source:
Lasted Revision: 2015-06-10

Abstract Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine Abstract Query for Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).


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