From the Journals

Adalimumab safety profile similar in children and adults

View on the News

Know the safety profile

The findings of this study underscore the importance of being “aware of the safety profile of this widely used biologic medication,” Philip J. Hashkes, MD, MSc, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

“The major finding was that the safety profile is similar to that seen in adults,” he added. “Although almost all patients developed adverse effects, especially infections, most were usual pediatric infections (including the serious infections) with very few opportunistic infections.” Patients with Crohn’s disease had more serious adverse effects and infections.

Future research should go a step further and focus on “post-marketing surveillance in ‘real life’ settings,” he concluded.

Dr. Hashkes is a pediatric rheumatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. His editorial in response to the article by Horneff et al. appeared in the Journal of Pediatrics (J Pediatr. 2018 Oct;201:2-3).



The safety profile for adalimumab in children is similar to that of adults, according to findings published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

psoriasis on the feet of a child Lori Farmer/MDedge News

In an analysis of data from seven clinical trials from 2002-2015, the most common adverse events across indications were upper respiratory tract infection (24 events per 100 patient-years), nasopharyngitis (17 events per 100 PY), and headache (20 events per 100 PY). Serious infections were the most frequent adverse events across indications (8% of all patients; 4 events per 100 PY), reported Gerd Horneff, MD, of the department of general pediatrics at Asklepios Klinik Sankt Augustin (Germany), and his coauthors.

All of the clinical trials were funded by AbbVie, and included 577 pediatric patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), psoriasis, or Crohn’s disease. Patients received subcutaneous injection of adalimumab at a dosage of either 40 mg/0.8 mL or 20 mg/0.4 mL.

Adverse events that occurred after the first adalimumab dose and up to 70 days after the last dose were included. Serious adverse events were defined as “events that were fatal or immediately life-threatening; required inpatient or prolonged hospitalization; resulted in persistent or significant disability/incapacity, congenital anomaly, or spontaneous or elective abortion; or required medical or surgical intervention to prevent a serious outcome,” the authors said.

Infections occurred in 82% of JIA patients (151 events per 100 PY), 74% of patients with psoriasis (169 events per 100 PY), and 76% of patients with CD (132 events per 100 PY). The most common events for JIA, psoriasis, and Crohn’s were injection-site pain (22% of patients; 75 events per 100 PY), headache (30% of patients; 47 events per 100 PY), and worsening of Crohn’s disease (55% of patients; 37 events per 100 PY), respectively.

Serious adverse events occurred in 29% of patients. Rates for JIA, psoriasis, and Crohn’s were 14, 7, and 32 events per 100 PY, respectively. Serious infections were the most common serious adverse event, with rates of 3, 1, and 7 events per 100 PY for JIA, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease, respectively. Pneumonia was the most commonly reported serious infection (1% of patients; 1 event per 100 PY). One death, due to an accidental fall, occurred in an adolescent patient with psoriasis.

The study findings add to “a more complete understanding of the established safety profile of adalimumab,” and suggest that in pediatric patients, “the overall safety profile was comparable and consistent with that in adults,” Dr. Horneff and his associates added.

AbbVie funded the study. Dr. Horneff has received grants from AbbVie, Chugai, Novartis, Pfizer, and Roche. Seven of the investigators are or were employees of AbbVie and may own AbbVie stock and stock options. Two of the investigators disclosed ties with a number of pharmaceutical companies.

SOURCE: Horneff G et al. J Pediatr. 2018 Oct. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.05.042.

Next Article: