Canadian rheumatology association consensus on the use of anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha directed therapies in the treatment of spondyloarthritis

W P Maksymowych, R D Inman, D Gladman, G Thomson, M Stone, J Karsh, A S Russell, [No Value] Sparcc

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Spondyloarthritis (SpA) represents a group of related arthritides characterized by their association with HLA-B27 and the development of sacroiliitis and enthesitis. Functional impairment, disability, and loss of quality of life may resemble that observed in rheumatoid arthritis. The SpA Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) is an informal association of rheumatologist members of the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) with a special interest in therapeutics and outcomes research in SpA. Recent experience with anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha (anti-TNF-alpha) directed therapies prompted a consensus-based evaluation of the evidence supporting their efficacy,. safety, and appropriate use in SpA. We evaluated the clinical evidence in support of anti-TNF-alpha directed therapies in SpA. Medline was searched using appropriate keywords. Abstracts of the 1999-2002 annual meetings of the American College of Rheumatology and the European Congress of Rheumatology were extracted and admitted if sufficient detail was available to determine the level of evidence. Recommendations were based on randomized placebo-controlled trials (Level A evidence) and clinical studies without randomization (Level B evidence). Where the scientific literature was incomplete, recommendations reflected the consensus of SPARCC members (Level C evidence). Following development of an original draft document, consensus for revisions was achieved among members of SPARCC. The document was then posted on the CRA website prior to its final revision. The following recommendations have been endorsed by the Therapeutics Committee of the CRA: Infliximab and etanercept are indicated for reduction of signs and symptoms of moderate to severely active SpA in patients who have had an inadequate response to maximal doses of greater than or equal to 2 nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID) over a 3-month period of observation; and either sulfasalazine or methotrexate is indicated in those with predominantly active peripheral arthritis. Current evidence supports their use as monotherapy (level of evidence A) for at least one year. NSAID and/or second line therapy with either sulfasalazine or methotrexate can be continued concomitantly. There is no evidence addressing potential advantages or disadvantages of combining methotrexate with anti-TNF therapy for SpA. Recommended doses for adults are: infliximab 5 mg/kg at 0, 2, and 6 weeks and every 8 weeks thereafter; etanercept 25 mg subcutaneously twice weekly. No therapy has been shown to slow progression of axial disease in SpA, and prognostic factors for determining response to therapy remain to be determined. It is the position of the CRA that all therapeutic options should be equally available according to the best judgments of the treating physician and the informed decision of the patient. (J Rheumatol 2003;30:1356-63).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1356-1363
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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