Side Effects of Biologics for Rheumatic Dz May Up Anxiety

Common patient concerns are risks of cancer and tuberculosis activation

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TUESDAY, Aug. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Potential side effects of biological agents may increase anxiety in patients with rheumatic disease, according to research published in the June issue of the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Yavuz Pehlivan, M.D., of Uludag University in Bursa, Turkey, and colleagues enrolled 1,134 patients with a diagnosis of rheumatic disease who used biological agents for at least three months. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was used to measure general anxiety levels.

The researchers found that anxiety related to biological agent concerns may significantly affect the overall level of patient anxiety. The most common cause for concern was the potential side effects of the biological agents (59.5 percent), which included risks for cancer (40.1 percent) and tuberculosis activation (30.7 percent). Anxiety levels were significantly higher in patients who experienced side effects than in other patients.

"Anxiety related to biological agents may significantly affect the patients' anxiety levels," the authors write. "Awareness regarding the patients' concerns and expectations related to the drug is important to ensure drug adherence and concordance to treatment."

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