Value of anti-infective chemoprophylaxis in primary systemic vasculitis: what is the evidence?

Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(5):253. doi: 10.1186/ar2826. Epub 2009 Oct 28.


Although infections are a major concern in patients with primary systemic vasculitis, actual knowledge about risk factors and evidence concerning the use of anti-infective prophylaxis from clinical trials are scarce. The use of high dose glucocorticoids and cyclophosphamide pose a definite risk for infections. Bacterial infections are among the most frequent causes of death, with Staphylococcus aureus being the most common isolate. Concerning viral infections, cytomegalovirus and varicella-zoster virus reactivation represent the most frequent complications. The only prophylactic measure that is widely accepted is trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole to avoid Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia in small vessel vasculitis patients with generalised disease receiving therapy for induction of remission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Systemic Vasculitis / complications*
  • Systemic Vasculitis / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / complications
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Infective Agents