Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Blockade With Infliximab for Refractory Uveitis and Scleritis

Ophthalmology. 2004 Feb;111(2):352-6. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(03)00721-8.


Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of the anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha agent infliximab in treatment-resistant uveitis and scleritis.

Design: Retrospective, noncomparative interventional case series.

Participants: Seven patients with noninfectious ocular inflammatory disease that was refractory to alternative immunosuppression. These included one patient with idiopathic retinal vasculitis and panuveitis, one patient with intermediate uveitis, one patient with chronic juvenile anterior uveitis, three patients with scleritis, and one patient with scleritis and peripheral ulcerative keratitis. Four patients had an underlying systemic disease that was in remission in three cases.

Intervention: Infusions of infliximab, 200 mg, were given at 4-week to 8-week intervals, depending on the clinical response.

Main outcome measures: Clinical response, including symptoms, visual acuity, degree of scleral vascular engorgement, corneal thinning, anterior chamber activity, and posterior segment inflammation, reduction in concomitant immunosuppression, and adverse effects.

Results: The mean patient age was 47 years (range, 24-78), and four patients were female. The mean number of infliximab infusions was seven (range, 2-19), and the mean follow-up period was 12 months (range, 4-22 months). Six patients experienced a clinical improvement, with five achieving remission and significant reduction in immunosuppression. One patient showed an initial response but developed a delayed hypersensitivity response that precluded further treatment. No other adverse effects occurred.

Conclusions: Infliximab seems to be an effective and safe treatment for noninfectious uveitis and scleritis and may be indicated as rescue therapy for relapses of ocular inflammation or as maintenance therapy when conventional immunosuppression has failed. Further investigation of infliximab for treatment-resistant scleritis and uveitis is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infliximab
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety
  • Scleritis / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Uveitis / drug therapy*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Infliximab