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Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Dec;25(6):825-42. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2011.11.006.


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Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet, Ruhr-University Bochum, Herne, Germany.


The most important clinical features of the spondyloarthritides (SpA) are not only inflammatory back pain (IBP) but also peripheral (enthesitis) and extra-articular symptoms. For clinical purposes, two forms related to the predominant clinical manifestation - axial and peripheral SpA - and five subgroups- ankylosing spondylitis (AS), SpA associated with psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), reactive arthritis and undifferentiated SpA - are differentiated. Axial SpA including AS is the most frequent subtype of SpA, followed by psoriatic arthritis and undifferentiated SpA, while reactive arthritis and IBD-related SpA are less frequent. The prevalence of SpA has been shown to be similar to rheumatoid arthritis. The outcome of the disease is influenced by the degree of disease activity over time, which is mainly related not only to inflammation but also on the structural damage (new bone formation) that occurs over time. Treatment options for patients with SpA have been limited for decades. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are currently considered first choice, since they have shown good amelioration of symptoms in SpA patients especially when suffering by the typical symptom of IBP. Furthermore, there is a clear role for regular physiotherapy in AS to prevent loss of spinal mobility. For patients who have insufficiently responded to conventional therapies, four anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) agents are available and are approved for the treatment of patients with active AS: infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab and golimumab. As far as it stands now, TNF blockers seem to have no influence on new bone formation in AS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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