Paradoxical Reactions: Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Agents, Ustekinumab, Secukinumab, Ixekizumab, and Others

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© 2018 S. Karger AG, Basel. Paradoxical reactions during treatment with a biologic agent can be defined as the appearance or exacerbation of a pathological condition that usually responds to this class of drug while treating a patient for another condition, which usually remains under control (even though there may be a change in morphology or phenotype). Paradoxical reactions were initially described as isolated case reports or case series in patients treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α agents, first in inflammatory rheumatic diseases, later in psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease. Paradoxical reactions have subsequently been reported with other biological drugs or classes (e.g., tocilizumab), even though in some cases insufficient efficacy or phenotype switch may be difficult to differentiate from true paradoxical reactions. This chapter will deal with the most frequently reported variants of paradoxical reactions: palmoplantar pustular and psoriasiform reactions, psoriatic arthritis, hidradenitis, inflammatory bowel disease, uveitis, pyoderma gangrenosum, granulomatous reactions, and vasculitis. The underlying pathomechanism in these complex diseases with involvement of multiple immunological pathways is most likely a cytokine imbalance, and substitution of the anti-TNFα agent by an alternative anti-p40 or anti-IL-17A biologic may be extremely helpful. Paradoxical reactions can cause serious handicap, and early recognition and treatment of these drug class effects is of paramount importance, especially when the primary disease is relatively devoid of therapeutic alternatives and its reactivation may have catastrophic consequences. Close surveillance of patients treated with newly available biologic drugs is necessary to detect and describe new paradoxical reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-63
JournalCurrent Problems in Dermatology (Switzerland)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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