Objective To update the evidence of non-biological treatments for axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), as a basis for the 2022 Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society-European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (ASAS-EULAR) recommendations for the management of axSpA.
Methods A systematic literature review (2016–2021) on efficacy and safety of non-pharmacological and non-biological pharmacological treatments was performed, up to 1 January 2022. The research question was formulated according to the PICO format: Population: adult patients with r-axSpA and nr-axSpA; Intervention: non-pharmacological and non-biological pharmacological treatments; Comparator: active comparator or placebo; Outcomes: all relevant efficacy and safety outcomes. Type of studies included were: randomised controlled trials (RCTs), observational studies (for efficacy of non-pharmacological treatments, and safety), qualitative studies. Cohen’s effect size (ES) was calculated for non-pharmacological and risk ratio (RR) for pharmacological treatments.
Results Of 107 publications included, 63 addressed non-pharmacological interventions, including education (n=8) and exercise (n=20). The ES for education on disease activity, function, mobility was small to moderate (eg. Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI), ES: 0.06–0.59). Exercise had moderate to high ES on these outcomes (eg. BASDAI, ES: 0.14–1.43). Six RCTs on targeted synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) showed efficacy of tofacitinib, upadacitinib and filgotinib (phase 2 only) in r-axSpA (range RR vs placebo for ASAS20: 1.91–3.10), while apremilast and nilotinib were not efficacious. Studies on conventional synthetic DMARDs (n=3), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, n=8) and other drugs (n=12) did not provide new evidence on efficacy/safety (efficacy of NSAIDs confirmed; limited efficacy of short-term glucocorticoids in one RCT).
Conclusions Education, exercise and NSAIDs confirmed to be efficacious in axSpA. JAKi were proved efficacious in r-axSpA.
- Spondylitis, Ankylosing
- Physical Therapy Modalities
- Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Handling editor Josef S Smolen
Twitter @AlexSepriano, @ElenaNikiUK
Contributors AO was responsible for acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data and drafted the manuscript. CW and LF participated in the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data. AS, SR, DvDH and EN were responsible for the conception and design of the work, and revised it critically for important intellectual content. RL and XB made substantial contributions to the design of the work, and revised it critically for important intellectual content. All the authors approved the final version of this article.
Funding This study was funded by European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology, Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society.
Competing interests CW and AO have nothing to declare. AS has received speaker/consulting fees from UCB and Novartis. XB received consulting fees and research grants from Abbvie, BMS, Eli-Lilly, Galapagos, Janssen, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sandoz, Sanofi, UCB and is an Editorial Board member of Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. RL is EULAR Council member and chair of Quality of Care, has received consulting fees from AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Jansen, Galapagos, Gilead, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Novartis, Pfizer, UCB and is Director of Rheumatology Consultancy BV. SR received research grants from AbbVie, Galapagos, Novartis, Pfizer and UCB, and consulting fees from AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Novartis, MSD, Pfizer, UCB and Sanofi. DvdH received consulting fees from AbbVie, Bayer, BMS, Cyxone, Eisai, Galapagos, Gilead, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, UCB Pharma and is Director of Imaging Rheumatology BV. She is associate editor of Annals of Rheumatic Diseases and Editorial Board member of Journal of Rheumatology. EN has received speaker honoraria/participated in advisory boards for Celltrion, Pfizer, Sanofi, Gilead, Galapagos, AbbVie, Lilly and holds research grants from Pfizer and Lilly.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.