Etanercept in the longterm treatment of patients with ankylosing spondylitis

J Rheumatol. 2009 Jun;36(6):1256-64. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.081033. Epub 2009 May 1.


Objective: To evaluate the 2-year efficacy and safety of etanercept in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Methods: A 96-week open-label extension study, which followed a 12-week double-blind placebo-controlled trial, was designed to provide longterm efficacy and safety data, including radiographic outcomes, for patients treated with etanercept 25 mg twice weekly (NCT00421980). In all, 81 patients were enrolled (96% of the participants from the double-blind study). Key efficacy measures included improvement using the Assessment in Ankylosing Spondylitis 20% (ASAS20) criteria, the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI), and the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI). Radiographic progression was evaluated using the modified Stoke Ankylosing Spondylitis Spine Score (mSASSS) method. Paired t tests were used to test within-group changes from baseline.

Results: The percentage of responders, by ASAS20 criteria, remained relatively constant in patients who received etanercept during the 12-week double-blind study (60% at Week 0 and 83% at Week 96 of the open-label extension); more patients from the placebo group became responders after being switched to etanercept (23% and 74%, respectively). A similar trend was also observed using the ASAS40 and ASAS5/6 criteria, the BASFI, and the BASDAI. Most patients had no change from baseline in mSASSS values. Etanercept was well tolerated; the most frequent adverse events were injection site reactions (n=30; 37.0%) and headache (n=18; 22.2%), and the most frequent infections were upper respiratory tract infections (n=43; 53.1%) and flu syndrome (n=22; 27.2%).

Conclusion: For 2 years, etanercept was clinically effective and well tolerated, with no unexpected safety findings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Etanercept
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / drug therapy*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Etanercept

Associated data