Study Finds New Effective Treatments for Axial Spondyloarthritis

According to a story from Healio findings from three studies indicate that the drugs bimekizumab and certolizumab pegol had the potential to be useful treatments for patients with axial spondyloathritis. The results of these studies could ultimately result in new therapeutic options for these disease states. Two studies were conducted with certolizumab pegol and one study was conducted with bimekizumab.

About Axial Spondyloarthritis

Axial spondyloarthritis is an umbrella term that encompasses autoinflammatory diseases that affect the joints of the spine and the sacrum. Radiographic axial spondyloarthritis is essentially a synonym for ankylosing spondylitis. Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis simply refers to less advanced disease in which changes to joints are not yet visible on a radiograph. The onset of symptoms often begins in early adulthood. These symptoms may include relapsing/remitting back pain, progressive joint stiffening, fatigue, fever, and weight loss. Inflammation can spread to other parts of the body, such as the eyes, the cardiovascular system, and lungs. No cure for the disease exists, so treatment focuses on pain management and slowing disease progression. Treatment may include NSAIDs, opioids, TNF inhibitors, physical therapy, surgery, and some others. Unfortunately, most therapies can cause serious side effects with long term use. To learn more about axial spondyloarthritis, click here.

Certolizumab Pegol

The first study of certolizumab pegol was a phase 3 trial that was conducted over a three year period. The trial included a total of 317 patients who were permitted to continue use of their non-biologic background treatment during the study. Until week four, the drug was administered every two weeks with a 400 mg dose. For the rest of the trial the dose was 200 mg with the same frequency. Interestingly, this study measured improvements to work productivity/absenteeism, and treatment with certolizumab was found to improve productivity compared to placebo.

A further analysis of this study investigated if early treatment with certolizumab pegol could improve outcomes. The analysis revealed that patients who had experienced symptoms for five year or less responded to treatment 46.3 percent of the time, but patients who had symptoms for more than five years only responded 24.1 percent of the time. These findings imply that treatment earlier in the disease course can improve outcomes.


Bimekizumab was evaluated in a trial that included 303 axial spondyloarthritis patients. Patients were dosed every four weeks with four different dose cohorts: 320 mg, 160 mg, 64 mg, and 16 mg. Patient response was measured at 12 weeks with the Assessment in SpondyloArthritis international Society 40% response (ASAS40) measurement tool. At week 12, outcomes were highest for the 160 mg dose (46.7 percent). 77.6 percent of patients experienced adverse events during the study.

These findings suggest that both of these drugs could be future treatments for axial spondyloarthritis.

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