A short review published in Inflammation & Allergy - Drug Targets looks at the role of IL-6 Antagonists in treating ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
The review states that although "the debate on the role of anti IL-6 in AS is still ongoing," medications such as "tocilizumab and siltuximab have proven efficacy [for treating AS] based on the large randomized controlled trials." The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both drugs for treating rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Tocilizumab, also known as Actemra, is currently being studied in the US for an indication to treat ankylosing spondylitis. One case study published in the Journal of Rheumatology states that, "Our case experience suggests that tocilizumab could be used in patients with AS." Click here to read about the case study.
Studies have found varying results. One titled, "Is IL-6 an appropriate target to treat
spondyloarthritis patients refractory to anti-TNF therapy?" found that, "In patients having failed anti-TNFa therapy, tocilizumab decreased acute-phase reactants but failed to
substantially improve axial spondyloarthritis and was inconsistently effective in peripheral spondyloarthritis." Click here to read a PDF of the study.
Only time will tell if the anti IL-6 drugs will be found effective and be approved by the FDA for treating ankylosing spondylitis - and more research is needed. The review states that "researchers have adventurously experimented anti IL-6 therapy in AS but the conclusions made were not consolidated into international guidelines or consensus statement for clinical practice."
To read a summary of the short review, click here.