by Chris Miller | Posted on 7/24/2012
TNF-a Inhibitors, also known as "biologics" or "biologic medications" have been shown to be quite effective in treating ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in many people. Still, worries of potential side effects as well as the high cost of these medications can be hurdles for some who are considering treatment with these drugs.
There are currently four TNF-a inhibitors approved by the FDA for the treatment of AS: Enbrel (Etanercept), Remicade (Infliximab), Humira (Adalimumab) and Simponi (Golimumab). View our medications section for more information.
A literature review published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, looks at the current state of biologic therapy for AS. The authors conclude that, "Longer-term studies of AS patients treated with infliximab, etanercept and adalimumab continued to show a good clinical response."
Interestingly, the authors also comment on the state of using MRI to diagnose AS earlier, and perhaps move to using a TNF-a Inhibitor earlier in treatment. Some treatment protocols usually require that NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) be used prior to a biologic medication. The authors of the review state that, "The use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows the diagnosis of AS to be made in the pre-radiographic stage. The Assessment in Spondylarthritis International Society recommendations for the management of AS have been modified so that patients with non-radiographic spondyloarthritis (SpA) can now be considered for biological therapy."
Read the review's abstract on biologic therapies in ankylosing spondylitis here.
About the writer: Chris Miller is the Director of Programs at the Spondylitis Association of America and is Managing Editor of SAA's news magazine, Spondylitis Plus. He has been at SAA for nine years.
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