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Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2013 Mar;18(1):71-86. doi: 10.1517/14728214.2013.752815. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Emerging drugs for axial spondyloarthritis including ankylosing spondylitis.

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  • 1Hospital General de Granollers, Department of Medicine, Granollers, Spain.



Only non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and TNF inhibitors (TNFi) are effective in ankylosing spondylitis (AS). However, not all patients successfully respond to these drugs and a subset may have contraindications to their use.


In the last decade, an earlier diagnosis of AS has been achieved due to the increasing availability of MRI. This has led to prompt treatment initiation with improved outcomes. NSAIDs and TNFi are the current treatments for AS which lead to sustained clinical responses in the long term. Recent studies have shown other potential biomarkers in AS, such as the IL-17/IL-23 axis. This has translated into the development of new drugs which interfere with these pathways, such as apremilast and secukinumab, which have shown efficacy in early clinical trials.


AS carries considerable short- and long-term disabilities. Anti-TNF-α therapies reduce pain, improve function and decrease inflammation as seen by MRI. New treatment options are being developed which may prove efficacious on those patients not responding to anti-TNF. The ultimate research goal should focus on treatments to prevent and stop new bone formation.

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