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New bone formation with spinal fusion is the hallmark of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and the related spondyloarthropathies (SpA), although concomitant osteoporosis is also a major problem both in early and established disease and correlates with disease activity.1 We have previously reported the efficacy of etanercept in patients with active and resistant spinal and peripheral SpA.2 Our aim in this study was to investigate whether suppression of inflammation with etanercept prevents bone loss in patients with AS and SpA.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Ten patients with active, resistant spinal and peripheral SpA were treated with a six month course of etanercept 25 mg subcutaneously twice weekly, as previously reported.2 Diagnoses in this group were: AS (n=7), Crohn’s spondylitis (n=2), and undifferentiated SpA (n=1). Results were compared with those for a second group of patients with equivalent disease activity, but shorter disease duration treated conventionally (table 1). The diagnoses of the second group were: undifferentiated SpA …
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