MONDAY, Oct. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) — For patients with active radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (r-axSpA) and prior inadequate response or intolerance to one or two tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi), ixekizumab treatment results in significant improvements versus placebo, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in Arthritis & Rheumatology. The research was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held from Oct. 19 to 24 in Chicago.

Atul Deodhar, M.D., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues recruited adults with inadequate response/intolerance to one or two TNFi, an established diagnosis of axSpA, and fulfillment of the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS) criteria for r-axSpA. They randomly assigned the patients to placebo (104 patients) or 80-mg subcutaneous ixekizumab every two weeks (IXEQ2W) or four weeks (IXEQ4W; 98 and 114 patients, respectively).

The researchers found that compared with placebo, the proportion of IXEQ2W and IXEQ4W patients who achieved ASAS 40 percent response was significantly greater at week 16 (30.6 and 25.4 percent, respectively, versus 12.5 percent), with statistically significant differences seen as early as week one of treatment. Compared with placebo, there were statistically significant improvements in disease activity, function, quality of life, and spinal magnetic resonance imaging inflammation with 16 weeks of ixekizumab treatment. Treatment-emergent adverse events were more frequent with ixekizumab.

“These positive results provide support for ixekizumab as a potential treatment option for patients with ankylosing spondylitis, including those who have had an inadequate response to treatment with TNF inhibitors, a difficult-to-treat population,” Deodhar said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, which manufactures ixekizumab and funded the study.

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