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Update on the use of systemic biologic agents in the treatment of noninfectious uveitis

Authors Pasadhika S, Rosenbaum J

Received 1 November 2013

Accepted for publication 28 November 2013

Published 15 February 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 67—81

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/BTT.S41477

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Sirichai Pasadhika,1 James T Rosenbaum2

1Department of Ophthalmology, Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System, Tucson, AZ, USA; 2Legacy Devers Eye Institute, Portland, OR, USA

Abstract: Uveitis is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Noninfectious uveitis may be associated with other systemic conditions, such as human leukocyte antigen B27-related spondyloarthropathies, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Behçet's disease, and sarcoidosis. Conventional therapy with corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents (such as methotrexate, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, and cyclosporine) may not be sufficient to control ocular inflammation or prevent non-ophthalmic complications in refractory patients. Off-label use of biologic response modifiers has been studied as primary and secondary therapeutic agents. They are very useful when conventional immunosuppressive therapy has failed or has been poorly tolerated, or to treat concomitant ophthalmic and systemic inflammation that might benefit from these medications. Biologic therapy, primarily infliximab, and adalimumab, have been shown to be rapidly effective for the treatment of various subtypes of refractory uveitis and retinal vasculitis, especially Behçet's disease-related eye conditions and the uveitis associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Other agents such as golimumab, abatacept, canakinumab, gevokizumab, tocilizumab, and alemtuzumab may have great future promise for the treatment of uveitis. It has been shown that with proper monitoring, biologic therapy can significantly improve quality of life in patients with uveitis, particularly those with concurrent systemic symptoms. However, given high cost as well as the limited long-term safety data, we do not routinely recommend biologics as first-line therapy for noninfectious uveitis in most patients. These agents should be used with caution by experienced clinicians. The present work aims to provide a broad and updated review of the current and in-development systemic biologic agents for the treatment of noninfectious uveitis.

Keywords: biologics, monoclonal antibody, eye

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