2021 clinical practice guideline for the early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of patients with axial spondyloarthritis. Colombian Association of Rheumatology

Reumatol Clin (Engl Ed). 2022 Apr;18(4):191-199. doi: 10.1016/j.reumae.2021.09.003. Epub 2022 Mar 16.


Background: Axial Spondyloarthritis is a rheumatic condition affecting young patients with social and occupational consequences. Diagnosis delay is associated with functional impairment and impact on quality of life, requiring a multidisciplinary approach.

Objective: To develop a set of recommendations based on the best available evidence for early detection, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring adult patients with axial spondyloarthritis.

Methods: A working group was established, questions were developed, outcomes were graded, and a systematic search for evidence was conducted. A multidisciplinary panel of members was established (including patient representatives), minimizing bias in relation to conflicts of interest. The GRADE approach "Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation" was used to assess the quality of the evidence as well as the direction and strength of recommendations. In total, 11 recommendations with regard to diagnosis (n = 2), pharmacological treatment (n = 6), non-pharmacological treatment (n = 2) and monitoring (n = 1) are presented.

Results: Sacroiliac joint radiography as the first diagnostic method, and the use of disease activity scales for patient monitoring (ASDAS or BASDAI), are recommended. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the first treatment option; in case of intolerance or residual pain, acetaminophen or opioids are recommended. In patients with axial involvement, it is recommended not to use conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or systemic or local glucocorticoids. In patients with failure to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-TNF or anti-IL17A is recommended. In those patients presenting with anti-TNF failure, starting an anti-IL17A is recommended. Exercise, physical and occupational therapy are recommended as part of treatment. It is recommended not to use unconventional therapies as the only treatment option.

Conclusions: This set of recommendations provides an updated guide on the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of patients with axial spondyloarthritis.

Keywords: Diagnóstico temprano; Early diagnosis; Espondiloartritis; Guía de práctica clínica; Monitoring; Practice guideline; Seguimiento; Spondylarthritis; Tratamiento; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis*
  • Colombia
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Rheumatology*
  • Spondylarthritis* / drug therapy
  • Spondylarthritis* / therapy
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors