Tuberculosis is the only condition in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis who are being treated with systemic biologic agents for which there is strong evidence in favor of baseline screening, according to a literature review.

Analysis of 26 studies of systemic biologic treatments and screening tests – 13 of which included patients with hepatitis C, hepatitis B, or congestive heart failure – found the highest level evidence (grade B) in favor of tuberculin skin testing or interferon-gamma release assay, with the latter being preferred for its higher sensitivity and specificity.

“Based on the [U.S. Preventive Services Task Force] grading system, it is recommended this screen be provided because there is high certainty that the net benefit is moderate, or medium certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial,” wrote Dr. Christine S. Ahn of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C., and coauthors in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Screening for hepatitis B or C infection only was supported by grade-C evidence, and there was insufficient evidence for HIV screening, with the authors suggesting that selective screening should be performed based on professional judgment, clinical context, or patient preference (J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 July 14 doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2015.06.004).

Similarly, there was insufficient evidence to support complete blood cell count screening, and, given the low grade evidence on monitoring hepatic function, the authors suggested this should be performed at the clinician’s discretion, particularly among patients treated with infliximab.


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