The utility of frequent laboratory monitoring for patients on tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors in dermatology


  • Jessica Houpe Kansas University
  • Emily Fan School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas
  • Fariha Siddiqui, M.D.
  • Edward W. Seger, M.D.
  • Anand Rajpara, M.D.



Tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha inhibitor, Dermatology, Adverse Events, Laboratory monitoring


Introduction. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors (TNF-ai) are becoming increasingly common to use among patients with skin disease. To safely take these medications, it is recommended to monitor laboratory values routinely; however, the utility of this practice and the risk-benefit of frequent laboratory monitoring has not been fully explored in patients with skin disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the necessity of routine laboratory monitoring in patients taking a TNF-ai with a dermatological disease. 

Methods. Retrospective chart review evaluated laboratory abnormalities (complete blood counts and liver function tests) in adult patients who took a TNF-ai for a dermatologic disease at The University of Kansas Hospital.

Results. There were 27 patients included for a total of 45 entries. The most common skin disease was hidradenitis suppurative (23/45) and infliximab (22/45) was most the commonly used medication. Of the 45 entries, there were only 7 patients that developed abnormal monitoring laboratory values related to initiation of TNF-ai. These abnormalities were transient and most frequently occurred after 12 months with (2/45) resulting in no discontinuation or dose reduction of TNF-ai. One patient discontinued medication due to anemia that did not improve after medication withdrawal.

Conclusions. Laboratory abnormalities due to TNF-ai were infrequent and when they did occur were transient and mild. The study is limited by the small sample size of patients, and larger prospective studies are needed to fully evaluate these findings. However, dermatologists may be able to safely employ less frequent laboratory monitoring for patients on TNF-ai.


Metrics Loading ...




How to Cite

Houpe, J., Fan, E., Siddiqui, F., Seger, E., & Rajpara, A. (2022). The utility of frequent laboratory monitoring for patients on tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors in dermatology. Kansas Journal of Medicine, 15(2), 212–214.



Original Research