Ankylosing Spondylitis

Jeff Edney jedney at
Thu Feb 20 21:19:30 EST 1997

Alexis Andronikos wrote:
> Can anyone provide me with a course of reseach on drugs and treatment
> modalities for this disease.  I'm looking for info beyond
> Anti-Inflammatory Agents and non-steroidal drugs.  Thanks

I have AS and take Indocin as my primary drug, but your inquiry suggests
you are concerned with altering the course of the disease, which
anti-imflammitories do not.

Methotrexate, also a drug used in fighting certain kinds of cancer, has
been successful in higher dosages.  I tried a lower dosage for six
months without significant improvement.  At the time, no data suggested
a higher dose, so who knows if that could work.  Downside is risk of
liver damage.

Sulfasalizine, used often for stomich problems/ulcers, seems to slow the
impact of AS on peripheral joints (hips, knees, etc) but does not
significantly alter the progression in the spine.  I tried it for three
years and one year after getting off of it, I need hip replacement.  The
causal relationship is unclear, but that's the facts.

Finally, steroids can slow the disease.  In 1991, I was hospitalized to
receive a three day "blast" treatment, with intravenious IV of an
equivalent to prednisone.  It is hard to say whether it helped or not. 
My SED rate has declined in recent years but I have tried so many things
that it is not likely I can isolate the "cure".  It may just be a
natural course of the disease.

The latest on the medical front is a "COX inhibitor".  It is under trial
for rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis, but not AS.  It, like Indocin and
most AS drugs, is an NSAID.  The advantage is it has a much lower
incidence of side effects, allowing you to take more anti-inflammatory
medice than could previously be done.  This could alter the disease, but
is too early to tell.

Good Luck.

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