Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Ankylosing Spondylitis Drugs

The following drugs are used in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
These medications relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Examples include:

Immunomodulatory agents
Etanercept is a monoclonal antibody that exerts its effect by binding to a compound known as tumor necrosis factor. Once bound by the antibody tumor necrosis factor cannot function. Tumor necrosis factor is a chemical that is involved in normal inflammatory and immune responses. Another option in this class is infliximab (Remicade).

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
Also referred to as DMARDs these medications help to reduce inflammation. Examples include sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) and methotrexate (Rheumatrex).

Steroid medications, such as prednisone, can suppress inflammation and slow damage to joints. Although most commonly taken as pills, severe episodes of inflammation or persistent pain may require treatment with injections.

Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a protein that increases in the presence of inflammation. TNF blockers target this protein and help to reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling. Examples include adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel) and infliximab (Remicade).

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Last Updated: Nov 16, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ankylosing Spondylitis References
  1. Reveille JD, Arnett FC. Spondyloarthritis: update on pathogenesis and management. Am J Med. 2005 Jun;118(6):592-603. [15922688]
  2. Zochling J, Braun J. Management and treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2005 Jul;17(4):418-25. [15956838]
  3. Zochling J, van der Heijde D, Dougados M, Braun J. Current evidence for the management of ankylosing spondylitis a systematic literature review for the asas/eular management recommendations in ankylosing spondylitis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 Aug 26. [16126792]
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