First update of the current evidence for the management of ankylosing spondylitis with non-pharmacological treatment and non-biologic drugs: a systematic literature review for the ASAS/EULAR management recommendations in ankylosing spondylitis

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2012 Aug;51(8):1388-96. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes066. Epub 2012 Apr 17.


Objective: To perform a systematic literature review as a basis for the update of the Assessment in SpondyloArthritis International Society and European League Against Reumatism (ASAS/EULAR) recommendations for the management of AS with non-pharmacological interventions and non-biologic drugs.

Methods: The search was performed in PubMed, EMBASE, PEDro and Cochrane between 1 January 2005 and 1 December 2009, and in abstracts of EULAR and ACR meetings (2007-09). Effect sizes for outcomes on pain, disease activity, spinal mobility and physical function and level of evidence were presented.

Results: Of 2383 papers, 35 with complete data were included. Physical therapy exercises in various modalities have positive effects on BASFI, BASDAI, pain and mobility function. Various NSAIDs including coxibs improve BASDAI, disease activity and BASFI. No effect of SSZ and MTX on any variable was found. Surgical interventions of the spine and the hip can give excellent results by restoring function.

Conclusion: This concise summary of current evidence for non-pharmacological interventions and non-biologic drugs formed the basis for the update of the ASAS/EULAR recommendations for the management of AS.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Balneology
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / rehabilitation
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / surgery
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antirheumatic Agents