Source Departments of Dermatology Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
The use of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α therapy in patients with psoriasis who are hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers is usually not recommended, and routine antiviral prophylaxis is suggested for those who need the treatment. We report our experience on the safety of anti-TNF-α therapy in patients with psoriasis who are HBV carriers in our clinic using HBV viral load as a guide for HBV treatment. Between 2007 and 2011, seven HBV carriers receiving TNF-α inhibitors for psoriasis in our clinic were collected retrospectively. The HBV viral load and aminotransferase levels were regularly monitored. Two of the seven patients were inactive HBV carriers, and the other five patients had chronic hepatitis B. Only one patient received antiviral agents before the anti-TNF-α treatment. The mean duration of the anti-TNF-α treatment was 26.6 months (range, 14-45 months). These patients were followed up from the start of the anti-TNF-α therapy for a mean duration of 28.9 months (range, 14-45 months). HBV reactivation was observed in three patients, one of whom required antiviral treatment. No HBV reactivation-related hepatitis was observed. In conclusion, prevention of HBV reactivation by monitoring of HBV viral load is cost-effective and may decrease the risk of developing drug resistance from routine anti-HBV prophylaxis treatment. It can be considered as an alternative in psoriasis patients treated by TNF-α inhibitors, especially in areas with a high HBV burden and in hepatitis B e-antigen-negative patients who have a lower risk of viral reactivation.