Good news for patients who suffer from ankylosing spondylitis (AS). There may soon be a new option for treating their disease if the results of a new trial support the idea. The new option isn’t a new drug, but the titration of an existing immunosuppressant that has already been approved for AS and other inflammatory diseases such as severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Drugmaker Novartis recently announced a new trial that will examine efficacy of increasing the dose of its immunosuppressant Cosentyx® (secukinumab). The ASLeap Trial will examine patients who do not get symptom relief by week 16 using the usual dose of 150 mg. Some of those patients will receive 300 mg of Cosentyx.
The ASLeap Trial will continue out to 52 weeks and will examine the outcome of dosage increase on patients based on the proportion of subjects achieving inactive disease status based on the Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS).
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that causes the vertebrae in the back to become inflamed and painful. Over time the vertebrae in the back can become fused causing the patient to lose flexibility in the spine. AS is a progressive disease that is debilitative to those it attacks. There is a genetic component associated with the disease and it is often found in the family history of its patients.
Ankylosing spondylitis has symptoms that include: early morning pain and stiffness in the hips and lower back (especially after periods of inactivity). The inflammatory process can also cause fatigue in many patients. The pain & inflammation can spread to the neck, breastbone, ribs, hip and shoulder joints. To learn more about AS, click here.
A cure for AS has not been found, but most treatment aims to lessen the pain associated with it, provide more flexibility and perhaps even slow the disease’s progression. That’s why any new therapeutic advantage is important to the AS patient.
“An important goal of ankylosing spondylitis treatment is to provide as much symptom relief as possible for patients living with this debilitating disease.”
— Marcia Kayath, Novartis
Experts estimate that there around 2.7 million cases of AS in the United States. The inflammatory disease affects men more than women and usually starts to present symptoms in early adulthood.
It is estimated that approximately 20-40% of patients do not respond well to the standard of care that is being offered today. This group of patients has had very few options to mitigate the harmful and devastating effects of ankylosing spondylitis.