Patient Perspectives on Biologics for Axial Spondyloarthritis in a Cross-sectional Study in a Predominantly Female Population: Treatment Satisfaction, Wear-off Between Doses, and Use of Supplemental Medication

Rheumatol Ther. 2022 Apr;9(2):509-520. doi: 10.1007/s40744-021-00417-6. Epub 2021 Dec 27.


Introduction: There is limited information regarding treatment experience of patients with axial spondyloarthritis/ankylosing spondylitis (axSpA/AS) receiving biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs). Here we characterize patient experiences and perspectives, including satisfaction among those currently treated with bDMARD therapy for axSpA/AS. We also assess the use of supplemental medication during perceived wear-off between doses.

Methods: Adult participants from the United States within the ArthritisPower registry with physician-diagnosed axSpA/AS were invited to complete electronic patient-reported outcome measures and an online survey about their perspectives of treatment. Analysis compared patient characteristics and treatment satisfaction by whether wear-off in axSpA/AS between bDMARD doses was reported.

Results: Of 128 patients currently taking a DMARD, the mean age was 46.9 (10.3) years, 82.0% were female, and 93.8% were White. A total of 78 (60.9%) perceived wear-off with their current bDMARD before the next dose, 19 (14.8%) did not experience wear-off and 31 (24.2%) were unsure about wear-off. Mean (standard deviation [SD]) Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) score indicated poor disease control in all patients receiving bDMARDs (6.4 [1.8]); worse for those perceiving wear-off between doses versus those who did not perceive wear-off or were unsure (6.8 [1.6] vs. 5.9 [2.0], p = 0.011). Patients experiencing wear-off reported being 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied' with their treatment less frequently than patients without wear-off (73.1 vs. 89.5%, respectively). Of patients reporting wear-off, 82.1% (n = 64) used supplemental medications during wear-off (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [68.8%, n = 44], muscle relaxants [42.2%, n = 27], and/or opioids [37.5%, n = 24]).

Conclusions: In a predominantly female sample of bDMARD-treated patients with axSpA/AS and high disease activity, the majority expressed treatment satisfaction. However, most experienced wear-off between doses and relied on supplemental medications, including opioids, to manage symptoms.

Keywords: Ankylosing spondylitis; Axial spondyloarthritis; Biologics; Efficacy; Satisfaction; Waning; Wear-off.