ISSN 2147-9720 | E-ISSN 2148-4279
Original Article
Biological therapy in arthritis patients with hepatitis B or C infection: a multicenter retrospective case series
1 Unit of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, King Fahd Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia  
2 Department of Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia  
3 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, King Saud University College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  
4 Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia  
5 Unit of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, King Fahd Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia  
6 Department of Medicine, Umm Alqura University School of Medicine, Makkah, Saudi Arabia  
7 Department of Medicine, Umm Alqura University School of Medicine, Makkah, Saudi Arabia; Department of Medicine, Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Alzaidi Chair of Research Diseases, Umm Alqura University  
Eur J Rheumatol 2017; 4: 194-199
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2017.17003
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Key Words: Arthritis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, biologics
Abstract

Objective: Reactivation of viral hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) has been reported in various case reports of patients with arthritis on biological therapy. The objective of this study was to describe the clinical characteristics and outcomes of arthritis patients with HBV or HCV treated with biological therapy.

 

Material and Methods: This is a retrospective case series including all patients above 13 years of age with arthritis patients from four centers in Saudi Arabia with concurrent chronic viral hepatitis infection (HBV or HCV) who received biological agents in the rheumatology clinics during their course of their disease from duration of the disease onset until last outpatient visit up to November 2015. Demographic information, full details about the hepatitis status of each patient, rheumatic  disease  diagnosis and different therapies used were reviewed.

 

Results: We identified 10 cases each with HBV and HCV on biological therapy. The mean age in the HBV group was 51 (34–85) years and 80% were females. Eight patients had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one patient had RA/systemic lupus erythematosus, and one had human immunodeficiency virus related-arthritis. Seven were chronic inactive HBsAg carriers and three had chronic active HBV. Nine HBV patients received prophylactic antiviral therapy. Two cases with chronic HBV had reactivation with no elevation of the transaminases. The mean age in the HCV group was 54 (23–79) years and all were female RA patients. Three had detectable hepatitis C virus-ribonuecleic acid (HCV-RNA) before the start of biological therapy. Nine HCV patients received antiviral treatment and seven had a sustained virologic response (SVR) before start of biological treatment. Three patients had detectable HCV-RNA during the course of biological therapy. One of the three was a non-responder and two were relapsers. One of the patients with HCV relapse was started on sofosbuvir plus ribavirin and achieved SVR on follow-up.

 

 

Conclusion: We report the successful use of biological therapy in arthritis patients with hepatitis B infection with antiviral therapy with no detoriation of their viral status. Due to the lack of sufficient prospective studies demonstrating the rate of HCV flare on biological therapy, caution should be exercised and careful monitoring with liver enzymes and viral load is mandated in vulnerable HCV RNA patients. Treatment should be individualized by the rheumatologist in collaboration with the hepatologist to minimize complications. 

 

Cite this article as: Abdulaziz S, Halabi H, Omair MA, Attar S, Alghamdi A, Shabrawishi M. Biological therapy in arthritis patients with hepatitis B or C infection: a multicenter retrospective case series. Eur J Rheumatol 2017; 4: 194-9.

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