Objective: To evaluate the continued safety and durability of clinical response in patients with ankylosing spondylitis receiving etanercept.
Methods: 277 patients who had participated in a previous randomised, double blind, placebo controlled 24 week trial were eligible to continue in this open label extension study. All patients who enrolled in the open label extension (n = 257) received subcutaneous etanercept 25 mg twice weekly for up to 72 weeks, for a combined 96 weeks of cumulative trial and open label experience. For the patients who had received etanercept for 24 weeks in the double blind trial, this represented almost 2 years of continuous etanercept treatment.
Results: Patients continuing etanercept treatment had a sustained response for almost 2 years, with 74% achieving an ASsessments in Ankylosing Spondylitis 20% (ASAS 20) response after 96 weeks of etanercept treatment. Patients who had received placebo in the preceding double blind trial had similar responses, with 70% of patients attaining an ASAS 20 response after 24 weeks of etanercept treatment and 78% achieving an ASAS 20 response after 72 weeks. Improved spinal mobility was seen in both groups. Etanercept was well tolerated in patients treated for up to 96 weeks.
Conclusion: The subcutaneous administration of twice weekly doses of etanercept provided sustained durability of response in the improvement of signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis for nearly 2 years.