Sezione di Reumatologia, Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Azienda S. Anna, Corso della Giovecca, 203 44100 Ferrara, Italy,
Fax: ++39 0532 207221
The aim of this study is to determine the effects of a combination treatment with etanercept and spa rehabilitation versus etanercept alone on function, disability and quality of life in a group of patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Sixty patients with AS underwent etanercept as suggested by ASAS/EULAR recommendations. As the clinical and laboratory conditions improved, 30 patients accepted the proposal of coupling the medical therapy with a 7-day rehabilitation program in a thermal baths centre; the remaining 30 subjects continued to take the biologic agent alone. The comparisons between the 2 groups were made after 3 and 6 months. The primary outcome was an improvement in BASFI. The secondary outcome was an improvement in the visual analogic scale of EuroQol (EQ-5Dvas). After 6 months a statistically significant improvement in BASFI (p < 0.05) and EQ-5DVAS (p < 0.05) scores was observed in both groups. The mean change in EQ-5DVAS value showed a statistically significant difference in favour of the combination therapy group versus the monotherapy group (22 vs 32, p < 0.05). A therapeutic regimen combining etanercept with an intensive rehabilitation program contributes to disability reduction and ameliorates quality of life for AS patients.