Non-anti-TNF biologic modifier drugs in non-infectious refractory chronic uveitis: The current evidence from a systematic review

Gabriele Simonini, Rolando Cimaz, Gareth T Jones, Gary J Macfarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To examine, separately, in children and adults with autoimmune chronic uveitis (ACU), the evidence regarding the effectiveness and the safety of switching to a non-anti-TNF biologic modifier immunosuppressant treatment (NTT) currently available in clinical practice.

METHODS: A systematic search between January 2000 and April 2014 was conducted using EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE, Evidence Based Medicine Reviews-ACP Journal Club, Cochrane libraries, and EBM Reviews. Studies investigating the efficacy of NTT as a biologic modifier immunosuppressant medication for ACU, refractory to topical and/or systemic steroid therapy, were eligible for inclusion. The primary outcome measure was the improvement of intraocular inflammation, as defined by the SUN working group criteria. We determined a combined estimate of the proportion of subjects responding to NTT.

RESULTS: We initially identified 526 articles, of which 89 were potentially eligible. From the selection process, a total of 10 retrospective chart reviews and a randomized single-blind controlled study, providing a total of 12 children and 34 adults, were deemed eligible: 3 articles looked at rituximab, 3 at abatacept, 3 at tocilizumab, and the remaining 1 at alemtuzumab and the other at anakinra. Before the NTT treatment, all the eligible subjects received several combinations of one or more DMARDs and at least one anti-TNF strategy. With the exclusion of 7 adults enrolled in the RCT, 8 of 12 children and 18 of 27 adults responded to NTT treatment: 0.66 was the combined estimate of the proportion of subjects improving on NTT treatment in children (95% CI: 0.46-0.99) and in adults (95% CI: 0.49-0.84). Further statistical comparison between different NTT strategies was not possible due to the small sample size.

CONCLUSION: Although randomized controlled trials are needed, the available evidence suggests the clinical use of a NTT strategy in selected categories of ACU, refractory to previous course of immunosuppressive treatment, DMARDs, as well as anti-TNFα, in adults as well as children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-250
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in arthritis and rheumatism
Issue number2
Early online date21 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • autoimmune chronic uveitis
  • alemtuzumab
  • anakinra
  • rituximab
  • abatacept
  • tocilizumab


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