In some cases, the tumor necrosis factor alpha (or TNF) inhibitors that you are taking to treat your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can increase your chances for infection. Most common among the infections associated with TNF drugs are shingles and urinary tract infections. Keep in mind, these infections might also occur without TNF drugs so be sure to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Other medications that treat RA - such as methotrexate and prednisone - may also increase your risk for infection.
When infections do occur, it is likely your doctor will put certain medications on hold until the issue is resolved. This does not mean your RA treatment has changed or your medications will stop. As a preventative measure, particularly in the elderly population, the shingles vaccine is often given prior to starting a TNF inhibitor treatment.
If you have questions about infections prior to TNF treatment, please speak with your doctor. If you experience symptoms of infection, it is important to seek medical advice.