Should all patients undergoing treatment with biologic agents be screened annually for latent tuberculosis infection with an interferon gamma release assay?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Systemic biologic therapy has become commonplace for the treatment of a variety of inflammatory dermatologic conditions, particularly psoriasis. Screening for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is recommended prior to initiation of systemic biologic agents, and an interferon gamma release assays (IGRA) is often used as the screening modality. Annual screening for LTBI is also recommended for patients while on systemic biologic therapy, but the literature does not clearly support how often screening should be performed. In addition, serial testing with IGRAs, particularly among low-risk populations without any new tuberculosis (TB) exposures, has proven to be unreliable with frequent reversions and conversions. We propose that in low-incidence TB regions, repeat LTBI screening should only be considered for patients on systemic biologic therapy if any new TB exposures occurred since initial LTBI screening was performed prior to starting biologic therapy. This strategy aims to reduce false-positive LTBI testing that can expose patients to hazardous antibiotics and result in the unnecessary interruption of systemic biologic therapy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Johnson, MG; Bialas, RW; Hall, RP; Stout, JE

Published Date

  • August 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 378 - 380

PubMed ID

  • 26652171

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6500384

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-1753

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3109/09546634.2015.1115815


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England