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Monthly injection for ankylosing spondylitis

28 June 2011 - 4:39pm

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.

News welcomed

The draft guidance from NICE was welcomed by the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society, a UK charity that aims to support patients and their families.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

Regular Exercise

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

‘Medication decreases pain and enables people with ankylosing spondylitis to exercise,’ says Juliette O’Hea, a rheumatology physiotherapist and the founder of AStretch - a UK group of physios who specialise in the condition.

‘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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