Evidence-based guidelines for laboratory screening for infectious diseases before initiation of systemic immunosuppressive agents in patients with autoimmune bullous dermatoses

Br J Dermatol. 2014 Dec;171(6):1307-17. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13355. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


Autoimmune bullous dermatoses (ABD) compromise the skin's innate barrier function for preventing infection. Treating patients with ABD frequently requires systemic immunosuppressive therapy, often with multiple agents. Currently, no pretreatment infection testing guidelines are available for clinicians caring for patients with ABD. We performed a systematic literature review in other medical disciplines that use similar iatrogenic immunosuppressive medications to treat various diseases and conditions and developed infection-testing recommendations for patients with ABD before initiating immunosuppressive therapy. Assessing individual patient risk factors for latent infection and preventable communicable diseases can direct testing for select infections before starting immunosuppressive therapy. Testing patients for hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection is recommended before initiating rituximab treatment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infections / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / drug therapy*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents