Efficacy and safety of intravitreal anti-tumour necrosis factor drugs in adults with non-infectious uveitis - a systematic review

Inês Leal, Filipe B Rodrigues, David Cordeiro Sousa, Vasco C Romão, Gonçalo S Duarte, Ester Carreño, Andrew D Dick, Carlos Marques-Neves, João Costa, João Eurico Fonseca

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Anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) drugs have been extensively used in non-infectious uveitis (NIU), when corticosteroids or conventional immunosuppressive drugs cannot adequately control inflammation or intolerable side-effects occur. However, systemic anti-TNF therapies are also associated with a myriad of side-effects. Therefore, intravitreal administration of anti-TNF biologics has been employed to minimize patient morbidity and systemic adverse effects, while maintaining therapeutic effectivity. We undertook a systematic review to determine evidence of efficacy and safety of intravitreal administration of anti-TNF drugs in adults with NIU. We conducted this systematic review according to the PRISMA guidelines. The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42016041946). We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE and EMBASE, from inception to April 2017, as well as clinical trial registries and grey literature. The qualitative analysis included all studies of adult patients with a diagnosis of NIU and who received intravitreal anti-TNF drugs with a 4-week minimum follow-up. A total of 4840 references were considered for title and abstract screening. Seven full texts were screened, and five studies were considered for analysis. All studies were open-label, single-centre, prospective, non-randomized, interventional case series with a follow-up between 4 and 26 weeks, employing either adalimumab in two studies and infliximab in three. Three studies showed a treatment effect of anti-TNF intravitreal injections, while one study revealed short-term improvement and one study revealed no efficacy of anti-TNF intravitreal therapy. None of the studies reported ocular adverse effects but only two studies included electrophysiological assessment in the safety analysis and no study assessed systemic human anti-drug antibodies. The available evidence is not sufficiently robust to conclude about the clinical effectivity of intravitreal anti-TNF in NIU and so no recommendation can be made. In conclusion, intravitreal injection of anti-TNF antibodies remains a possible treatment option to be explored through robust clinical investigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Early online date25 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Review

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