The Future Is Now: Biologics for Non-Infectious Pediatric Anterior Uveitis.
Anterior uveitis (AU), inflammation of the iris, choroid or ciliary body, can cause significant eye morbidity, including visual loss. In the pediatric age group, the most common underlying diagnosis for AU is juvenile idiopathic associated uveitis and idiopathic AU, which are the focus of this paper. AU is often resistant to medications such as topical corticosteroids and methotrexate. In the past 15 years, biologic agents (biologics) have transformed treatment. In this review, we discuss those in widespread use and those with more theoretical applications for anterior uveitis. Tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors (anti-TNFα) have been available the longest and are used widely to treat pediatric uveitis. The effects of anti-TNFα in children are described mostly in small retrospective case series. Together, the literature suggests that the majority of children treated with anti-TNFα achieve decreased uveitis activity and reduced corticosteroid burden. However, many will have disease flares even on treatment. Only a few small studies directly compare outcomes between alternate anti-TNFα (infliximab and adalimumab). The use of different uveitis grading systems, inclusion criteria, and outcome measures makes cross-study comparisons difficult. Whether the achievement and maintenance of inactive disease occurs more frequently with certain anti-TNFα remains controversial. Newer biologics that modulate the immune system differently (e.g., interfere with Th17 activation through IL-17a and IL-6 blockade, limit T lymphocyte costimulation, and deplete B lymphocytes), have shown promise for uveitis. Studies of these agents are small and include mostly adults. Additional biologics are also being explored to treat uveitis. With their advent, we are hopeful that outcomes will ultimately be improved for children with AU. With many biologics available, much work remains to identify the optimal inflammatory pathway to target in AU.
Lerman, MA; Rabinovich, CE
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