Abstract: The introduction of biological therapies has resulted in improved outcomes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), although there are concerns about the long-term safety of these drugs specifically relating to lymphoma and serious infection. Biologics registers have been established worldwide to investigate long-term safety as well as effectiveness of biologic drugs in inflammatory conditions such as RA.
To date, publications from biologics registers have focused mainly on anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy (anti-TNF agents). The reports show that anti-TNF agents are effective in the treatment of RA. However, they are also associated with higher rates of serious infection. Lymphoma risk does not appear to increase, although findings are limited by mean follow-up periods of less than 5 years.
Moving forward, biologics registers will continue to capture long-term follow-up of anti-TNF drugs in RA, as well as incorporating new classes of biologics and other musculoskeletal diseases. This will further extend our knowledge of the long-term safety and effectiveness of biologic drugs, when used in ‘real life’ situations, and across conditions.
Elsevier in Medicine
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