Introduction. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are a public health issue with over 3.5 million patients in Europe, but the advent of several biologic agents has completely changed their management. Pharmacovigilance is needed to early detect expected/unexpected adverse events (AEs) to assess the safety of drugs in a real-world setting. Aim of this prospective pharmacovigilance study was to evaluate the occurrence of AEs in patients treated with biologic drugs in gastroenterology units in Southern Italy. Methods. All consecutive patients treated with one biologic drug during a two-years period (2017-18) in six gastroenterology tertiary units and satisfying inclusion criteria were enrolled. Demographic and clinical characteristics of patients, type of treatment used, therapy discontinuation, failures, switch/swap to another biologic, and possible onset of AEs were collected. Adverse events have been compared to the number of AEs reported in the same centres in the two years before the protocol. Results. Overall, 623 patients (253 females) with Crohn's disease (352; 56.5%) or ulcerative colitis (271; 43.5%) have been included. Infliximab (IFX) was the most commonly used (308, 49.4%), followed by adalimumab (ADA; 215, 34.5%), vedolizumab (VED; 73, 11.7%), golimumab (GOL; 26, 4.2%) and ustekinumab (UST; 0.2%). Ninety-two patients have experienced AEs (14.8%) and 10 serious adverse events (SAEs) (1.6%) were recorded. Adverse events and SAEs have been reported with GOL (7/26; p = 0.88), IFX (51/308; p = 0.54), ADA (28/125; p = 0.40) and VED (6/73;P = 0.11), no AEs occurred with UST (0/1). Conclusion. Overall, considering the low rate of AEs reported and discontinuation from therapy, our data seems to confirm the positive beneficial/risk ratio of biologic treatment for IBDs and provide useful data on biologic drugs in gastroenterology.
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