A summary of the rare reports of osteonecrosis of the jaw associated with tumor necrosis-α inhibitors in the United States Food and Drug Administration's Adverse Event Reporting System database


Advocate Lutheran General Hospital


Purpose:Recent case reports highlight an association between osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and antitumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) medications. Our study reviewed and described reports of anti-TNF associated ONJ reported to the United States of America's Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System to explore this potential adverse drug reaction further.

Methods:Using the Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System database, we identified reported cases of ONJ between 2010 and 2021. Cases were included in our study if they reported any prior or concomitant anti-TNF medication use. Additionally, only adults (age 18+) and reports from health-care professionals were included. Cases lacking subject age or gender were excluded. After duplicates were removed, a dataset was created and demographics were described including age, gender, and indication for use. Naranjo scoring was conducted to assess adverse drug reaction probability. Subject demographics were then separately described for cases without reported denosumab or bisphosphonate therapy history and compared to those with reported history or concomitant denosumab or bisphosphonate therapy.

Results:Over twenty thousand cases of ONJ were reported. Forty-four potential cases (0.22%) of anti-TNF medication-associated ONJ were identified and reviewed. Of these, female gender comprised 77.3% (35 cases) and there was an average age of 61.3 years ± 13.7 years. Twenty cases (45.5%) had no prior/concomitant bisphosphonate or denosumab therapy. Of these, 55% (11 cases) were female and the average age was 54.5 ± 17.3 years. Rheumatoid arthritis was the most frequent indication for use (5 cases, 25%) followed by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and psoriatic arthritis (4 cases each, 20%) in this cohort.

Conclusions:Twenty potential cases of anti-TNF-associated ONJ without prior or concomitant medications known to be associated with ONJ were identified and described. Interestingly, male gender was more frequent and subjects were younger in these cases compared to those with prior/concomitant bisphosphonates or denosumab therapy. Naranjo scoring indicated a probable interaction for three cases. Further studies are needed to clarify the association of ONJ and anti-TNF therapy, including investigating potential mechanisms and reporting future cases with sufficient detail to assess possible confounding factors.



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