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Published on 28 May 2008

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Humira for ankylosing spondylitis

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Humira (adalimumab) has today been recommended by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as one of the treatment options for adults with severe active ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

This is the first time that NICE has reviewed anti-TNF (anti-tumour necrosis factor) therapies for AS.

Today’s decision is also the third positive opinion from NICE for adalimumab for rheumatological conditions, having been recommended for the treatment of active and progressive psoriatic arthritis and moderate-to-severe active rheumatoid arthritis in 2007.

Until recently, treatment for AS has been limited to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physiotherapy. The availability of anti-TNFs, such as adalimumab, which works by blocking tumour necrosis factor alpha – known to cause inflammation – marks an important advance in the treatment of adults with severe active AS who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy.

“Today’s recommendations by NICE mark an important step forward for the management of patients with ankylosing spondylitis,” commented Dr Bruce Kirkham, Consultant Rheumatologist, Guy’s Hospital, London.

“People living with AS will welcome today’s recommendation. The use of the anti-TNF class of treatments significantly improves the quality of life of those receiving them.”

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