HealthDay News — For adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), biologic agents increase the risk of infection, especially opportunistic infection, but do not increase the risk of serious infection or malignancy, according to a review published in the October issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Stefanos Bonovas, MD, PhD, from Humanitas Clinical and Research Center in Milan, and colleagues performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine whether biologic agents impact the risk of infection or malignancy in adults with IBD. Data were included from 49 randomized placebo-controlled studies with 14,590 participants.

The researchers found that patients treated with biologics had a moderate increase in the risk of any infection (odds ratio (OR), 1.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 1.29) and a significant increase in the risk of opportunistic infections (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.21 to 3.01); there was no increase in the risk of serious infections (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.71 to 1.12). In studies with low risk of bias, biologics seemed to reduce the risk of serious infection (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.35 to 0.90). Biologic agent use was not associated with increased risk of malignancy (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.54 to 1.50), but data were insufficient in terms of exposure and follow-up.

Continue Reading

“It is necessary to continue to monitor the comparative and long-term safety profiles of these drugs,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


  1. Bonovas S, Fiorino G, Allocca M, et al. Biologic therapies and risk of infection and malignancy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol H. 2016;14(10):1385-1397. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2016.04.039.