Objective: To examine the safety of using anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the setting of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Methods: The charts of 5 patients known to have RA requiring anti-TNF therapy as well as established HCV infection were reviewed retrospectively for laboratory data of hepatic parenchymal inflammation and viral proliferation while taking these agents.
Results: In a mean +/- SD followup period of 41 months (+/- 28.2 months), no patient displayed evidence of sustained elevation of serum aminotransferases during therapy with anti-TNF. Additionally, 1 patient was observed to have a decreased HCV viral load after extended treatment with only anti-TNF (no therapy for HCV).
Conclusion: Anti-TNF therapy for RA in the setting of HCV appears to be safe and well tolerated without apparent influence on the underlying HCV infection. Therefore, this approach should be further evaluated prospectively for longterm safety.