Discuss your options with your doctor
When you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA), you and your rheumatologist will decide a treatment plan. In addition to medication, your doctor may recommend a regimen of exercise and physical therapy as part of your treatment plan to help improve your posture and mobility. While there is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, treatment can help reduce the pain and stiffness it causes. Have open and honest talks with your rheumatologist about the appropriate therapy for you and your goals.
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen
- Used to treat pain and swelling
- Usually the first medications doctors prescribe. Sometimes NSAIDs may not be helpful enough in reducing symptoms
- Biologics are pharmaceutical products manufactured in a living system such as a microorganism or plant or animal cell
- May be used if NSAIDs aren’t doing enough. Your doctor may suggest a biologic to help reduce pain and stiffness in your spinal joints
Oral Small Molecules
- Oral Small Molecules are prescription medications that treat inflammatory diseases and are taken as a pill
- May help reduce pain and stiffness in spinal joints, and improve physical function
- May be prescribed for a short term orally or given as a localized injection
- May be recommended to help reduce pain and inflammation
Select patients with severe disease and limited mobility may benefit from spine or hip surgery. It is important to discuss all treatment options and their risks and benefits with the appropriate specialists.
The danger of not treating AS and nr-axSpA
Not treating ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) can cause radiographic changes and your pain to get worse over time. That's why it's so important to seek treatment from a rheumatologist with whom you can discuss all of your symptoms.
FACE THE FACTS
EFFECTS OF AS AND NR-AXSPA
Over time, symptoms of AS and nr-axSpA can appear in the upper spine, rib cage, and neck.
DISCOVER A TREATMENT OPTION FOR AXSPA
Learn about a treatment option that might be right for you and discuss with your doctor.
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1. Axial spondyloarthritis. Arthritis Foundation. November 28, 2017. Accessed June 30, 2021. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/ankylosing-spondylitis/symptoms.php 2. Ankylosing spondylitis: diagnosis & treatment. Mayo Clinic. November 1, 2016. Accessed June 30, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354813 3. Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, et al. 384: The Spondyloarthritides. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Education; 2015. 4. National Institutes of Health. What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. 2014. 5. Robinson PC, Sengupta R, Siebert S. Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA): advances in classification, imaging and therapy. Rheumatol Ther. 2019;6:165-177. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40744-019-0146-6 6. Sieper J, Rudwaleit M, Baraliakos X, et al. The Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society (ASAS) handbook: a guide to assess spondyloarthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2009;68(suppl 2):ii1-ii44. doi:10.1136/ard.2008.104018 7. Spondylitis Association of America. What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)? Spondylitis Association of America. 2012. 8. Spondylitis Association of America. What Is Non-radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis (Nr-axSpA)? Spondylitis Association of America. 2021. 9. Taurog JD, Gensler LS, Haroon N. 362: Spondyloarthritis. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 21st ed. New York: McGraw Hill Education; 2022. 10. Treatment information: exercise. Spondylitis Association of America. Accessed June 30, 2021. https://spondylitis.org/about-spondylitis/treatment-information/exercise/ 11. Treatment information: surgery. Spondylitis Association of America. Accessed June 30, 2021. https://spondylitis.org/about-spondylitis/treatment-information/ 12. van der Heijde D, Song IH, Pangan AL, et al. Efficacy and safety of upadacitinib in patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (SELECT-AXIS 1): a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2/3 trial. Lancet. 2019;394(10214):2018-2117. 13. What are “Biologics” Questions and Answers. Food and Drug Administration. February 6, 2018. Accessed June 30, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/center-biologics-evaluation-and-research-cber/what-are-biologics-questions-and-answers