This study aimed to determine the incidence and characteristics of active tuberculosis (TB) in patients treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists according to baseline latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). Data were retrospectively obtained from 702 patients aged ≥20 years treated with TNF antagonists between November 2005 and June 2016 at Severance Hospital, a tertiary referral hospital in Seoul, South Korea. The interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) with or without a tuberculin skin test (TST) was used to diagnose LTBI. Of the total of 702 patients, LTBI was diagnosed in 255 (36.3%) patients. 23.9% (168/702) had positive IGRA results, and 32.2% (165/512) had positive TST results. Five patients developed active TB after LTBI treatment, and 6 developed TB despite baseline negative LTBI results. After adjustment for age and sex, the standardized TB incidence ratio was 6.01 (95% CI 1.94-14.04) in the LTBI group and 5.14 (95% CI 1.88-11.18) in the baseline negative LTBI group. Clinicians should be aware of the risk of active TB in patients treated with TNF antagonists despite baseline negative LTBI screening results. Regular monitoring and serial tests should be considered during long-term TNF antagonist therapy, especially in intermediate to high TB burden country.
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