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Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2005 May;17(3):247-56.

Treatment update on spondyloarthropathy.

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Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology Unit, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.



The unexpected success of the tumor necrosis factor antagonists in ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis has generated considerable enthusiasm regarding the therapeutic potential of these drugs. By contrast, concerns regarding the high cost and long-term safety of the tumor necrosis factor blocking agents have prompted investigators to take a closer look at more traditional anti-inflammatory agents and to explore novel therapeutic targets. The purpose of this review is to summarize treatment advances in spondylarthropathy over the past year and to discuss potential future therapies.


Recent studies indicate that the morbidity of ankylosing spondylitis and PsA are considerably higher than previously reported. Etanercept, infliximab and adalimumab safely and effectively relieved the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis patients in phase III trials. Etanercept and infliximab were also effective in phase III trials in ankylosing spondylitis. Etanercept slowed radiographic progression in psoriatic arthritis trials, but it is not known whether tumor necrosis factor antagonists can prevent structural damage in ankylosing spondylitis. One trial showed that methotrexate may be effective for relieving the pain of axial disease in ankylosing spondylitis but these findings contradict two previous studies. For reactive arthritis and undifferentiated spondylarthropathy, a combination of antibiotics may be more effective than a single antibiotic for the relief of musculoskeletal symptoms. Last, potential therapeutic targets include interleukin-1, interleukin-12, B lymphocytes, accessory molecules on T lymphocytes, and angiogenic factors.


Phase III trials have confirmed that tumor necrosis factor antagonists are effective and safe for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. For patients who do not respond to tumor necrosis factor blockade, several treatment options are under study. Information from these trials will more clearly define the role of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, novel therapeutic agents, and antibiotics in the treatment of spondylarthropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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