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Keeping in mind the unique manner in which Ankylosing Spondylitis progresses (bone destruction, followed by new bone formation and fusion), therapy should aim to treat pain and inflammation (which destroys the bone) as well as inhibit new bone formation.
Oral medications and injectables are available to treat Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Discuss the right therapy options with your doctor. Together you can make an informed choice on the best treatment option for you based on your symptoms and co-morbidities.
Making a treatment decision is an important step in your ability to manage your condition. It is important that you are aware of the various therapy options available, based on which you can structure a conversation with your Rheumatologist and plan a treatment strategy that works best for you.
Here's a guide to help you navigate the therapies available to manage Ankylosing Spondylitis along with a few conversation starters to help you on your journey to Fight The Fuse!
Therapeutic management of Ankylosing Spondylitis consists of 3 main drug classes:
This is the first treatment option for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Your Rheumatologist may prescribe a single NSAID or a combination with other medications to manage your symptoms of pain, inflammation and stiffness.
These are medications used to treat non-axial spondyloarthritis i.e. when pain and inflammation are experienced in joints other than the spine, like hips, ankles, knees or arms.
These are innovations of medical science. They are medications manufactured within a living system i.e. they are genetically engineered proteins which are designed to block certain aspects of the immune system.
Biologics are medicines that decrease the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis by targeting or blocking certain aspects of your body’s immune activity. They work by reducing abnormal inflammation in the body and will help you:
Your Rheumatologist may initiate biologics if your symptoms are not relieved by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alone.
Biologics are administered with a needle i.e., they can be injected under the skin (called subcutaneous injections) or infused into a vein.
It is important that you adhere to the dose and the frequency of medication that is prescribed by your Rheumatologists for maximum benefits.
Partner with your Rheumatologist to make the right choice on which biologic will suit you the best based on the following factors:
Steroids: These are drugs that work very well on inflammation and are sometimes used in Ankylosing Spondylitis as well. They are usually injections that have to be directly injected into the joints. Corticosteroids are known to have many side effects and have to be used with caution. Discuss the pros and cons of corticosteroid therapy with your doctor prior to initiation.
Discuss the right therapy options with your Rheumatologist.
Choose an option that works to control your symptoms and Fight The Fuse!
Magrey MN and Khan MA. Curr Rheumatol Rep 2017;19:17
van der Heijde D, et al. Ann Rheum Dis 2017;0:1–14
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NHS. Treatment. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Available [Online] at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/treatment/ Accessed on 08 March 2021
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