Cutaneous events during treatment of chronic inflammatory joint disorders with anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha: a cross-sectional study

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Anti-tumour necrosis factors (anti-TNF) are more and more used, but the rate of skin adverse events is not known.


The aim was to assess the number of skin infections and other dermatoses in patients treated with anti-TNFα.

Patients and methods

One hundred eighty-seven patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis underwent a dermatological exam. Patients with anti-TNF were compared with those without this treatment in a prospective transversal study.


Among them, 59 patients were treated with anti-TNFα and steroids were prescribed in 100 cases. There was no difference in the prevalence of skin infections or eczema or tumours. Skin drug reactions were observed in six patients. Infections by dermatophytes appear very frequent, approaching 70% in both groups.


This study shows that skin infections (or other skin diseases) are not more frequent in these patients. No differences were observed in infections (bacterial fungal, parasital or viral), tumours, psoriasis or the manifestations of atopic dermatitis. Nonetheless, a long-term survey might be interesting, especially about skin tumours.

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