Understanding the complications of anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy in East Asian patients with inflammatory bowel disease
Remarkable advances have been made in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease since the introduction of anti-tumor necrosis factor-α agents, especially for patients who are refractory to or cannot tolerate conventional therapies. Currently, infliximab, adalimumab, and golimumab are available in the East Asian medical market, and these agents have been shown to be effective for inducing and maintaining long-term remission of inflammatory bowel disease. Despite their clinical benefits, anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy can also lead to increased vulnerability to infections, development of autoimmune diseases and malignancy, and decreased immunogenicity of vaccinations. Because infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and influenza, remain major health problems in East Asia, more cautious use of biologics is needed. To further improve treatment efficacy and safety, close monitoring of inflammation, regular surveillance for malignancy, and regularly scheduled vaccinations are needed. Treatment strategies for biologics should be customized to meet the needs of different patients.