TNF-Alpha Inhibitors for Ankylosing Spondylitis and Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis (TA383)

Technology Appraisal Guidance No. 383

Source: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

1. Guidance

1.1 Adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab and infliximab are recommended, within their marketing authorisations, as options for treating severe active ankylosing spondylitis in adults whose disease has responded inadequately to, or who cannot tolerate, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Infliximab is recommended only if treatment is started with the least expensive infliximab product. People currently receiving infliximab should be able to continue treatment with the same infliximab product until they and their NHS clinician consider it appropriate to stop.

1.2 Adalimumab, certolizumab pegol and etanercept are recommended, within their marketing authorisations, as options for treating severe non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis in adults whose disease has responded inadequately to, or who cannot tolerate, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

1.3 The choice of treatment should be made after discussion between the clinician and the patient about the advantages and disadvantages of the treatments available. This may include considering associated conditions such as extra-articular manifestations. If more than 1 treatment is suitable, the least expensive (taking into account administration costs and patient access schemes) should be chosen.

1.4 The response to adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab or infliximab treatment should be assessed 12 weeks after the start of treatment. Treatment should only be continued if there is clear evidence of response, defined as:

  • a reduction in the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) score to 50% of the pre-treatment value or by 2 or more units and
  • a reduction in the spinal pain visual analogue scale (VAS) by 2 cm or more.

1.5 Treatment with another tumour necrosis factor (TNF) -alpha inhibitor is recommended for people who cannot tolerate, or whose disease has not responded to, treatment with the first TNF-alpha inhibitor, or whose disease has stopped responding after an initial response.

1.6 When using BASDAI and spinal pain VAS scores, healthcare professionals should take into account any physical, sensory or learning disabilities, or communication difficulties that could affect the responses to the questionnaires, and make any adjustments they consider appropriate.


The guidance shown above constitutes Section 1 of the full document. A copy of the full document and a summary of the evidence is available on the Internet at http://guidance.nice.org.uk/TA383

This guidance represents the view of the Institute which was arrived at after careful consideration of the available evidence. Health professionals are expected to fully take it into account when exercising their clinical judgement. This guidance does not, however, override the individual responsibility of health professionals to make appropriate decisions in the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.

© Copyright National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved. This material may be freely reproduced for educational and not for profit purposes within the NHS. No reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of the Institute.

Enquiries concerning the guidance should be addressed to: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, MidCity Place, 71 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NA. email: nice@nice.org.uk

TNF-alpha inhibitors for ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis

Issue Date: February 2016


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