TNF-alpha antagonists for the treatment of juvenile-onset spondyloarthritides

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Nov-Dec 2002;20(6 Suppl 28):S137-42.


Juvenile-onset spondyloarthritides (SpA) is a term for a group of HLA-B27 related disorders. The hallmark signs and symptoms of this group of disorders include peripheral arthritis and enthesitis while sacroiliitis and spondylitis develop in some cases later on and extrarticular manifestations such as anterior uveitis occurs occasionally. Conventional medical therapy in children consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids that are administered intraarticulary, even in the sacroiliac joints. Sulfasalazine and methotrexate are given in cases of chronic synovitis or enthesitis. Unfortunately, these forms of therapy have limited efficacy in many cases and disease activity and damage may lead to various degrees of functional impairment. Recently, experience with TNFalpha-antagonists in adults has opened new perspectives for treating patients with refractory SpA, particularly ankylosing spondylitis (AS). So far there is only little experience in the treatment of juvenile-onset SpA, consisting of case reports and case series where etanercept or infliximab have been given to children suffering from refractory juvenile-onset AS and psoriatic arthritis. From these observations there is evidence that treatment seems to be as effective as in adults. Risks are likely to be the same as in patients suffering from other forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritides. However, without further studies no recommendations can be provided for indication for treatment, dosing, intervals and duration of treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Etanercept
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Infliximab
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Spondylarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Spondylarthritis / epidemiology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Infliximab
  • Etanercept