From the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation: Monitoring and vaccinations in patients treated with biologics for psoriasis

Mark Lebwohl*, Jerry Bagel, Joel M. Gelfand, Dafna Gladman, Kenneth B. Gordon, Sylvia Hsu, Robert E. Kalb, Alexa Boer Kimball, Neil J. Korman, Gerald G. Krueger, Philip Mease, Warwick L. Morison, Amy Paller, David M. Pariser, Christopher Ritchlin, Bruce Strober, Abby Van Voorhees, Gerald D. Weinstein, Melodie Young, Liz Horn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Background: Biologics are widely used in the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Objective: Our aim was to arrive at a consensus on the kind of monitoring and the vaccinations that should be performed before and during biologic therapy. Methods: Medical literature and data presented at meetings were reviewed and a consensus conference was held by members of the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation. Results: Consensus was established on monitoring and vaccination practices that included discussion and recognition of variations in those practices. History, physical examination, chemistry screen with liver function tests, complete blood cell count, and platelet count and tuberculosis testing are widely obtained at baseline and with variable frequencies thereafter. Patients treated with efalizumab have platelet counts checked more often; liver function tests are repeated more frequently in patients treated with infliximab; patients taking tumor necrosis factor blockers undergo tuberculosis testing more often; and patients treated with alefacept have CD4 counts checked approximately every 2 weeks. Avoidance of live vaccines during biologic therapy and administration of essential vaccines before biologic therapy were discussed, although vaccination is performed only to a variable degree. There was no consistency in the measurement of antinuclear antibodies among the experts. Limitations: There are few evidence-based studies on monitoring practices for patients with psoriasis taking biologic therapies. Conclusions: In patients taking biologic therapies for psoriasis, monitoring of blood chemistries, blood counts, CD4 counts, antinuclear antibodies, tuberculin skin tests, history, and physical examination may be warranted depending on the particular therapy and the particular patient. Vaccination practices are also addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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