Objective. Real-world epidemiological data on tuberculosis (TB) infection in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) receiving TNF-α inhibitors are scarce. We investigated the risks for and case characteristics of TB in a large cohort of IBD patients treated with TNF-α inhibitors in Korea, where TB is endemic. Materials and methods. We performed an observational study on all TB cases identified in a cohort of 873 IBD subjects treated with TNF-α inhibitors from January 2001 to December 2013. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of TB was calculated using data from the matched general population. Results. A total of 25 newly developed TB cases were identified in the cohort (pulmonary TB, 84% [21/25]; extrapulmonary TB, 16% [4/25]). The adjusted SIR of TB was 41.7 (95% confidence interval, 25.3-58.0), compared with that of the matched general population. Nineteen of the 25 patients (76%) developed TB within 2-62 months of initiation of TNF-α inhibitor treatment despite screening negative for latent TB infection (LTBI), whereas three patients with LTBI (12%, 3/25) developed TB 3 months after completion of chemoprophylaxis. The outcomes of TB treatment were mostly favorable, although one death from peritoneal TB was noted. The type of TNF-α inhibitor prescribed (infliximab) was a significant predictor of TB (p = 0.033). Conclusions. TNF-α inhibitor treatment strikingly increases the risk of TB infection in an IBD population from a TB endemic area. Continuous evaluation of the development of de novo TB infection in IBD patients subjected to long-term TNF inhibitor therapy is mandatory.
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