Aim: Our aim was to adapt and implement the evidence based recommendations for the management of ankylosing spodylitis (AS) of the "Assessments in AS" (ASAS) International Working Group together with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) within the framework of a competence network (CN) in rheumatology in the German language area.
Methods: The ASAS/EULAR project calculated the effective size (ES), rate ratio, number of patients requiring treatment (number needed to treat, NNT) and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). The strength of the recommendations was determined through the evidence level found in the literature, the risk-benefit trade-off and the clinical experience of the experts. The recommendations were recently published in English. All of the centers taking part in the study area Spondyloarthritis (SpA) CN, as well as an additional 35 experts, were sent the English manuscript. All 35 participants were asked to evaluate the ten main management recommendations on a scale from 0 to 10.
Results: The recommendations encompass the use of drugs such as non-steroid anti-inflammatories (NSAR), which, along with conventional NSAR include coxibs and the parallel application of gastroprotectives, so called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, biologicals, simple analgesics, local and systematic glucocorticoids, non-drug therapies (such as patient training, medical training therapy and physiotherapy), in addition to surgical treatment methods. Moreover, three general recommendations were formulated and a therapy scheme created, taking into consideration the various clinical manifestations. The strength of the ASAS/EULAR recommendations was generally high. There was a marked consensus between the German speaking experts and the international proposal: a mean of 9.13 with relatively low variation between the recommendations.
Summary: Ten key recommendations for the treatment of AS were developed. These were strengthened by a systematic search of the literature and by expert consensus. The large group of German speaking experts were largely in agreement with the proposal. This can be seen as a starting point for the dissemination and implementation of the recommendations.