Comparative Efficacy of Biologic Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs for Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis: A Systematic Literature Review and Bucher Indirect Comparisons.

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Rheumatol Ther


washington, swedish


INTRODUCTION: Biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs), including certolizumab pegol (CZP), are effective treatment options for the management of non-radiographic spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA). In the absence of head-to-head comparisons in nr-axSpA, we conducted a systematic literature review (SLR) and indirect treatment comparison (ITC) to better understand the comparative efficacy of CZP vs. other bDMARDs.

METHODS: Literature searches were conducted in October 2020 in MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to identify randomized controlled trials in patients with nr-axSpA who had failed at least one non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and were treated with bDMARDs. Outcomes of interest included the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis international Society (ASAS), Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS), Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI) and Disease Activity Index (BASDAI), and spinal pain score. Comparative efficacy was examined using a series of Bucher ITCs in subgroups matched by prior exposure to bDMARDs, disease duration, baseline C-reactive protein (CRP) levels/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) status, and timepoints, to ensure comparability between studies.

RESULTS: At 12-16 weeks, treatment with CZP was significantly more likely to achieve ASAS20/40 response and ASDAS-inactive disease status vs. etanercept (ETN), ixekizumab (IXE), and secukinumab (SEC). CZP showed statistically significant improvement in BASDAI, BASFI, and total spine pain score over adalimumab (ADA), ETN, and IXE, and in BASFI over SEC. Among patients with objective signs of inflammation (OSI; elevated CRP levels and/or inflammation on MRI at baseline), CZP had a statistically significant advantage over ETN and SEC (with or without loading dose) in achieving ASAS40, whereas the comparisons with other bDMARDs did not show any statistically significant differences.

CONCLUSION: In the overall matched population, CZP performed significantly better than most comparators in improving the clinical outcomes. Among patients with OSI, CZP was found to be superior to SEC (in the MRI-/CRP + and MRI + /CRP- subgroups) and ETN (in the MRI + /CRP- subgroup) and it was comparable to golimumab and IXE across the different OSI subgroups.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine