Quality of life and therapeutic management of axial spondyloarthritis patients in Italy: a 12-month prospective observational study

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2021 Sep-Oct;39(5):961-969. doi: 10.55563/clinexprheumatol/dz0xrd. Epub 2021 Jan 6.


Objectives: To evaluate the health-related quality of life (HRQoL), disease activity, treatment adherence, and work ability in the real-world setting in patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA).

Methods: QUASAR was a prospective 12-month, observational study involving 23 rheumatology centres across Italy, including adult patients with axSpA according to the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society (ASAS) criteria. Patients were followed at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months for disease activity and health-related QoL (HRQoL), treatment adherence and work ability. Regression analysis was used to assess the association between treatment and outcome variables.

Results: 413 (80.7%) out of axSpA 512 patients were diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and 99 (19.3%) with non-radiographic axSpA (nr-axSpA). Nr-axSpA and AS patients had similar baseline disease activity and HRQoL. Biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) were the most frequent medication (n=426, 83.2%). Over the 1-year follow-up, disease activity measures (joint pain and swelling, CRP, global assessment, BASDAI, ASDAS), HRQoL and work ability significantly improved, while few differences emerged between nr-axSpA and AS patients. Treatment satisfaction and adherence questionnaires improved over the 12 months. Patients treated with bDMARDs showed improved outcomes for disease activity measures and HRQoL variables, greater benefit observed in patients with AS.

Conclusions: We found clinical and HRQoL improvement over 1 year in a large, real-world population of nr-axSpA and AS patients treated with bDMARDs or conventional synthetic DMARDs.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antirheumatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Spondylarthritis* / diagnosis
  • Spondylarthritis* / drug therapy
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing* / diagnosis
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing* / drug therapy


  • Antirheumatic Agents