What HBV Testing is Needed Before Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Therapy

As noted in a previous blog post (What’s Going on with Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B?):

Hepatitis B Reactivation risk & recommendation: (For all of the specifics — Full text article link)

  • High risk of reactivation (>10%): B cell depleting agents (eg. rituximab, ofatumumab), anthracycline derivatives (eg. doxorubicin, epirubicin), and daily moderate to high dose steroids (>10 mg) for at least 4 weeks. Recommendation: Use HBV prophylaxis
  • Moderate risk of reactivation (1-10%): anti-TNF therapy, integrin inhibitors (eg. ustekinimab, vedolizumab), tyrosine kinase inhibitors, low-dose steroids daily (<10 mg/day) for at least 4 weeks.  Recommendation: Use HBV prophylaxis if HBsAg-positive but not if only anti-HBc-positive
  • Low risk of reactivation (<1%): azathiopurine, 6-mercaptopurine, methotrexate. Recommendation: No antiviral prophylaxis required.

For those interested in a more detailed summary of the recommendations: AGA Website HBV Reactivation Recommendations

In line with the reactivation risk, a new study (and editorial) (M Barone et al. Hepatology 2015; 62: 40-6; editorial BP Perillo. Hepatology 2105; 62: 16-8) indicates that for those receiving tumor necrosis inhibitor (anti-TNF) monotherapy, hepatitis B screening requires only checking HBsAg. The study examined a total of 1218 Caucasian rheumatologic patients (receiving biologic agents) between 2001-12. In this cohort, the authors identified 179 patients who had a previously resolved HBV infection; 146 treated with anti-TNF, 14 with rituximab, and 19 with other biologic therapy. Key finding: HBV reactivation was not seen in these patients.

Bottomline: For most pediatric patients receiving anti-TNF monotherapy (eg. infliximab, adalimumab), screening with HBsAg alone should suffice.

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Grand Tetons from Jackson Lodge

Grand Tetons from Jackson Lodge

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One thought on “What HBV Testing is Needed Before Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Therapy

  1. Pingback: Hepatitis B Reactivation Due to Immunosuppressive Therapies | gutsandgrowth

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