Axial spondyloarthritis

AxSpA is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the axial skeleton

Axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the axial skeleton (sacroiliac joints and spine) and is characterised by new bone formation and functional impairment, pain, stifness and fatigue.

There are two distinct clinical presentations of AxSpA, radiographic and non-radiographic. In patients with radiographic AxSpA (r-AxSpA), the disease is confirmed by the presence of damage in the SIJ on x-Ray. In non-radiographic AxSpA (nr-AxSpA), this sign is absent, and presence of disease is confirmed by MRI or genetic features (i.e. presence of HLA B27) in combination with clinical features of axSpA.

First symptoms indicative of AxSpA tend to develop in young adults, aged 20 to 30 years.

Typical early symptoms of the disease include inflammatory back pain, which is characterized by nocturnal pain and prolonged morning stiffness of the (lower) back with impaired physical function. Many patients present with articular (arthritis, dactylitis) and extra-articular (for example inflammatory bowel disease, uveitis, psoriasis) symptoms associated with AxSpA.

Studies report the prevalence of AxSpA ranges from 9 to 30 per 10,000 in the general population, depending on geographic area, study population or data source, case definition, and ascertainment methods.[19]

There is currently no cure for AxSpA, and treatment options aim to reduce symptoms and prevent or slow disease progression.[20] Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are critical to managing AxSpA and preventing long-term complications and disability. However, the disease can be challenging to diagnose, as symptoms may be nonspecific and can overlap with other conditions such as mechanical low back pain or fibromyalgia.[21] Therefore, there is an unmet medical need for more accurate diagnostic tools and effective treatments for AxSpA.

We recognize the significant burden that AxSpA places on individuals and society. Through our research and development efforts, we strive to bring hope and relief to patients by improving their symptoms and quality of life.

[19] Wang R, Ward MM. Epidemiology of axial spondyloarthritis: an update. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2018 Mar;30(2):137-143.

[20] Machado P, Landewé R, Lie E, et al. Ankylosing spondylitis disease activity score (ASDAS): defining cut-off values for disease activity states and improvement scores. Ann Rheum Dis. 2011 May;70(5):47-53. doi: 10.1136/ard.2010.138594. Epub 2010 Dec 9. PMID: 21148527.

[21] Rudwaleit M, van der Heijde D, Khan MA, Braun J, Sieper J. How to diagnose axial spondyloarthritis early. Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Dec;63(12):535-43

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