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The introduction of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-blocking therapy has revolutionized the management of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) over the last decade. This review highlights the current evidence relating to the use of TNF-blocking therapy in AS. International guidelines for the use of TNF blockers in AS are summarized. An outline of the evidence for efficacy and safety of these drugs is included, highlighting recent data from registries and real-life observational studies. Such cohort data is also reviewed highlighting the evidence for 'switching' TNF blockers in AS in the case of non-response or adverse events. The potential new application of TNF blockers in preradiographic axial spondyloarthropathy (SpA) or 'early AS' is discussed with reviews of two recent studies in this area. Finally research into the possible additional impacts of TNF therapies is reviewed. The question of whether TNF blockers are truly disease modifying in AS remains unanswered with conflicting reports. The additional burden of AS in terms of cardiovascular disease is now becoming understood. Recent data from basic science studies highlights the potential impact of TNF blockers on this excess cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Future studies and registry data will be able to assess whether TNF blockers have an additional role in controlling systemic inflammation and its associated cardiovascular risk.

Original publication

DOI

10.1177/1759720X09359728

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ther adv musculoskelet dis

Publication Date

02/2010

Volume

2

Pages

37 - 43

Keywords

TNF-blocking therapy, ankylosing spondylitis, treatment