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Since the introduction of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) the majority of patients can be successfully treated. However, individual patients have persistent disease activity. We report on a 36-year-old male patient with HLA-B27-positive AS. No peripheral arthritis or extra-articular manifestation was documented. After insufficient response to standard treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), sulfasalazine, methotrexate and all three available TNF antagonists (infliximab, etanercept and adalimumab), the last of these even in an intensified dose of 40 mg weekly, a rescue treatment with the interleukin 6 (IL-6) antagonist tocilizumab (TCZ; Roche Pharma, Roche Pharma, Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany) was initiated.
TCZ was administered intravenously with 8 mg/kg bodyweight every 4 weeks. Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) served as clinical response measure. For functional assessment the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI) and the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Metrology Index (BASMI) were applied. For global …