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Monthly injection for ankylosing spondylitis

A new treatment for the spinal condition ankylosing spondylitis has been provisionally approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Treatment with the recommended drug, golimumab, consists of a once-monthly injection that patients can give themselves. Golimumab will be available to people with severe cases of the autoimmune disease who have not responded to standard therapy.

The draft guidance from NICE was welcomed by the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, a charity that supports patients and their families.

‘We have been waiting for quite some time for golimumab to be approved by NICE and this is a real step forward,’ said director Debbie Cook.

Some 200,000 people in the UK have the condition, which can cause long-term pain and stiffness. Physiotherapy is a recommended treatment, often in conjunction with drugs.

‘Medication decreases pain and enables people to exercise,’ says Juliette O’Hea, a rheumatology physio. ‘But regular exercise is vital to improve posture, strengthen the hip and spine extensors and stretch the anterior muscles of the shoulders and hips.’


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