Infections and biologic therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: our changing understanding of risk and prevention

Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2012 Nov;38(4):727-45. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2012.08.019. Epub 2012 Sep 30.


Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk for serious infections and death from infection than the general public. Prednisone and biologic agents increase this risk, although the risk associated with biologics can be mitigated when such agents act as prednisone-sparing therapies. Some of the important causes of infectious morbidity in this setting are preventable with screening (eg, tuberculosis) or vaccination (eg, herpes zoster).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Biological Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology*
  • Opportunistic Infections / prevention & control*
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Vaccination*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Prednisolone