The use of biological agents in the treatment of rheumatic diseases has been widely associated with an increased risk of reactivation of several latent infections. National and international guidelines recommend screening for infectious diseases before starting these drugs. In Western countries screening is limited to latent tuberculosis infection, HIV and viral hepatitis. However, the increasing globalisation and the remarkable number of migrating and travelling people worldwide make this approach no longer adequate. The Italian and Spanish Societies of Rheumatology and Tropical Medicine wish to issue a warning about the need to improve awareness of doctors about the risk of reactivation of infectious tropical diseases in migrant or travelling patients who undergo biological therapy. Thus, the Italian and Spanish Societies are now planning to issue specific recommendations, based on a multidisciplinary contribution and a systematic review of the literature, for screening and follow-up of active and latent chronic infections in candidate patients for biological agents, taking into account the patient's area of origin and risk of infectious diseases.
- DMARDs (biologic)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
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