Turkish Archives of Pediatrics
Original Article

How Safe Are Biological Agents in Pediatric Rheumatology?


Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics, Gazi University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey


Clinic of Pediatric Rheumatology, Ankara Etlik City Hospital, Ankara, Turkey

Turk Arch Pediatr 2024; 59: 185-192
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2024.23221
Read: 312 Downloads: 138 Published: 01 March 2024

Objective: Biologic therapy has changed the prognosis of patients with rheumatologic disease. Despite all benefits of the biological agents, adverse events may occur due to their long-term use. The aim of this study is to analyze the adverse events observed in pediatric patients who received biological treatment.

Materials and Methods: This retrospective observational cohort study was conducted between January 2010 and January 2022. File records of 139 patients used biological agents for rheumatologic diseases in a pediatric rheumatology clinic were evaluated. Diagnosis, received treatment, the rationale for stopping treatment, requirement of tuberculosis prophylaxis, presence of an adverse event, and results were recorded.

Results: The most used biological therapy was etanercept (41.7%). Anakinra, adalimumab, canakinumab were used in 30.9%, 27.3%, 23.7% of patients, and the others in less than 10%. Totally 491 adverse events (97.9/100 patient-years) were encountered during the duration of biological treatment. The most often adverse event was recurrent upper respiratory tract infection in the patients (31.9/100 patient-years). Elevated aminotransferase levels (10.4/100 patient-years), abdominal pain (7/100 patient-years), and headache (5.2/100 patient-years) were among the other common side effects. Isoniazid (INH) prophylaxis was needed before biological treatment in 20.9% of the patients. Tuberculosis developed in none of the patients followed-up for latent tuberculosis, however, it developed in a patient while receiving etanercept due to noncompliance with his scheduled outpatient visits during etanercept treatment.

Conclusion: The most commonly used biological treatments were TNFi and IL-antagonists, and the majority of side effects were infections and laboratory abnormalities. Although the rate of serious adverse events is quite low, close follow-up of patients receiving biological therapy is very important.

Cite this article as: Sunar Yayla EN, Yıldız Ç, Esmeray Şenol P, Karaçayır N, Gezgin Yıldırım D, Bakkaloğlu SA. How safe are biological agents in pediatric rheumatology? Turk Arch Pediatr. 2024;59(2):185-192

EISSN 2757-6256