Mycobacterial diseases and antitumour necrosis factor therapy in USA

K. L. Winthrop, R. Baxter, L. Liu, C. D. Varley, J. R. Curtis, J. W. Baddley, B. McFarland, D. Austin, L. Radcliffe, E. B. Suhler, D. Choi, J. T. Rosenbaum, L. J. Herrinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


Objective: In North America, tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) disease rates associated with antitumour necrosis factor α (anti-TNFα) therapy are unknown. Methods: At Kaiser Permanente Northern California, the authors searched automated pharmacy records to identify infl ammatory disease patients who received anti-TNF therapy during 2000-2008 and used validated electronic search algorithms to identify NTM and tuberculosis cases occurring during anti-TNF drug exposure. Results: Of 8418 anti-TNF users identifi ed, 60% had rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Among anti-TNF users, 18 developed NTM and 16 tuberculosis after drug start. Anti-TNF associated rates of NTM and tuberculosis were 74 (95% CI: 37 to 111) and 49 (95% CI: 18 to 79) per 100 000 person-years, respectively. Rates (per 100 ,000 person-years) for NTM and tuberculosis respectively for etanercept were 35 (95% CI: 1 to 69) and 17 (95% CI: 0 to 41); infl iximab, 116 (95% CI: 30 to 203) and 83 (95% CI: 10 to 156); and adalimumab, 122 (95% CI: 3 to 241) and 91 (95% CI: 19 to 267). Background rates for NTM and tuberculosis in unexposed RA-patients were 19.2 (14.2 to 25.0) and 8.7 (5.3 to 13.2), and in the general population were 4.1 (95% CI 3.9 to 4.4) and 2.8 (95% CI 2.6 to 3.0) per 100 ,000 person-years. Among anti-TNF users, compared with uninfected individuals, NTM case-patients were older (median age 68 vs 50 years, p<0.01) and more likely to have RA (100% vs 60%, p<0.01); whereas, tuberculosis casepatients were more likely to have diabetes (37% vs 16%, p=0.02) or chronic renal disease (25% vs 6%, p=0.02). Conclusions: Among anti-TNF users in USA, mycobacterial disease rates are elevated, and NTM is associated with RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the rheumatic diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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