(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, M.D., Ph.D., 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.

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

“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.

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