that led to hospitalization, the use of intravenous antimicrobial therapy, or death, according to a prospective cohort study of cases in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
The new data suggest a risk associated with infliximab treatment that previous clinical trials and observational studies were insufficiently powered to detect, according to the investigators, led by Zenas Yiu, of the University of Manchester (England). They found no associations between infection risk and treatment with etanercept, adalimumab, or ustekinumab, and they noted that there are no such data yet on more recently approved biologic therapies for psoriasis, such as secukinumab or ixekizumab.
The British Association of Dermatologists () recommends infliximab, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)–blocker, only for severe cases of psoriasis (Psoriasis Area and Severity Index greater than or equal to 20 and a Dermatology Life Quality Index greater than 18), or when other biologics fail or cannot be used.
To address the insufficient power of earlier studies, the researchers used data from the BAD Biologic Interventions Register (), a large, prospective psoriasis registry in the United Kingdom and Ireland established in 2007. The analysis included 3,421 subjects in the nonbiologic systemic therapy cohort, and 422 subjects in the all-lines infliximab cohort. The median follow-up period was 1.49 person-years (interquartile range, 2.50 person-years) for the all-lines (not just first-line) infliximab group, and 1.51 person-years (1.84 person-years) for the nonbiologics group.*
Treatment with infliximab was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of serious infection (defined as an infection associated with prolonged hospitalization or use of IV antimicrobial therapy; or an infection that resulted in death), with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.95 (95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.75), compared with nonbiologic systemic treatments. The risk was higher in the first 6 months (adjusted HR, 3.49; 95% CI, 1.14-10.70), and from 6 months to 1 year (aHR, 2.99; 95% CI, 1.10-8.14,) but did not reach statistical significance at 1 year to 2 years (aHR, 2.03; 95% CI, 0.61-6.79).
There was also an increased risk of serious infection with infliximab compared with methotrexate (aHR, 2.96; 95% CI, 1.58-5.57).
“Given our findings of a higher risk of serious infection associated with infliximab, we provide real-world evidence to reinforce the position of infliximab in the psoriasis treatment hierarchy,” the authors wrote, adding that “patients with severe psoriasis who fulfill the criteria for the prescription of infliximab should be counseled” about the risk of serious infection.
Dr. Yiu disclosed having received nonfinancial support form Novartis, two authors had no disclosures, and the remainder had various disclosures related to pharmaceutical companies. BADBIR is funded by BAD, which receives funding from Pfizer, Janssen Cilag, AbbVie, Novartis, Samsung Bioepis and Eli Lilly for providing pharmacovigilance services.
SOURCE: Yiu ZZN et al. .
*This article was updated to correctly indicate that the median follow-up period was 1.49 person-years (interquartile range, 2.50 person-years) for the all-lines (not just first-line) infliximab group, and 1.51 person-years (1.84 person-years) for the nonbiologics group.