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Swiss Experts Recommend QuantiFERON(R)-TB Gold for Tuberculosis Infection Screening Prior to Initiating anti-TNF-a Therapy
Date:11/14/2007

MELBOURNE, Australia, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Swiss experts have abandoned the over 100 year old tuberculin skin test (TST) favouring the use of interferon-a release assays such as QuantiFERON(R)-TB Gold (QFT(TM)) for screening patients for tuberculosis (TB) infection prior to initiating biological treatments (such as anti-TNF-a therapy). In recommendations published in the current issue of the Swiss Medical Weekly, experts advocate the use of QFT(TM) in place of the TST, as it is more accurate (sensitive & specific) than the TST in individuals with immune suppression and provides rapid and reproducible results. These recommendations come after the recent approval of the In-Tube format of QFT(TM) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) and its widespread use in Europe and Asia for a number of years.

Biological treatments (like anti-TNF-a) are increasingly being used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, dermatological conditions like psoriasis and gastroenterological conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Patients receiving anti-TNF-a therapy are at a higher risk of developing tuberculosis during treatment than patients with similar diseases not receiving anti-TNF-a therapy or the general population. Most cases of TB appear due to reactivation of latent TB infection and not new (or de novo) infection, and the Swiss recommendations advocate screening all patients for TB infection prior to initiating anti-TNF-a therapy. In addition to QFT(TM) use, screening should be based on a detailed medical history and a chest x-ray.

Preventive treatment should be offered to all patients with evidence of latent tuberculosis infection before starting anti-TNF-a therapy. For patients with a positive QFT(TM) result, the experts unanimously supported appropriate preventive drug treatment for TB.

The group of experts (in rheumatology, gastroenterology & pneumology) published the recommendations in the current issue of Swiss Medical Weekly, the o
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SOURCE Cellestis International
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