Use and Switching of Biologic Therapy in Patients with Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis: A Patient and Provider Survey in the United States

Atul Deodhar, David Sandoval, Elizabeth Holdsworth, Nicola Booth, Theresa Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved certolizumab-pegol, the first biologic for the treatment of non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA), for use in the United States (US) in March of 2019. The objective of this study was to investigate biologic use and reasons for switching therapy among patients with nr-axSpA in the US. Methods: This was a real-world, cross-sectional study of rheumatologists conducted in the US. Data were collected from June to August of 2018 via rheumatologist-completed patient record forms. Data from patients who had a rheumatologist-confirmed diagnosis of nr-axSpA were included in the study. Rheumatologists provided information on current medication use and reasons for switching biologics. Results: Eighty-eight rheumatologists collected data on 495 nr-axSpA patients. Over half of nr-axSpA patients were male (53.3%), with a mean age of 44.2 years, and 69.8% of patients reported working full-time. Of the 495 nr-axSpA patients, 48.1% were receiving a biologic and no conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (csDMARD), 18.4% csDMARD (no biologic), 18.2% non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs)/COX-2 (no biologic or csDMARD), 11.5% a biologic and a csDMARD, 2.0% were receiving no therapy, and 1.8% other therapy (no biologic, csDMARD, or NSAID/COX-2). Of 295 patients receiving a biologic, 77.8% were receiving their first, 13.8% their second, and 8.3% their third or more biologic. Of 74 nr-axSpA patients who switched from a previous biologic to their current biologic, rheumatologists reported that 51.4% switched due to condition worsening, 48.6% had a loss of response over time, 27.0% switched due to a lack of pain alleviation, and 25.7% of patients switched because remission was not induced. Conclusions: This study suggests that around 60% of nr-axSpA patients were receiving biologic therapy prior to the approval of certolizumab pegol. Switching of biologics is frequent in nr-axSpA patients and is usually due to lack of efficacy, loss or response, and effort to accomplish remission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
JournalRheumatology and Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Biologic therapy
  • Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis
  • Treatment patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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