Treat-to-target in axial spondyloarthritis: an observational study in daily practice

E. Beckers*, A. Boonen, C. Webers, P. Ten Klooster, H. Vonkeman, M. Efde, A. van Tubergen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


Objectives To evaluate the extent to which internationally agreed treat-to-target recommendations were applied in clinical practice in patients with axial spondyloarthritis. Methods Data were used from a web-based patient registry for monitoring SpA in daily practice in the Netherlands. The extent to which treat-to-target was applied was evaluated through four indicators: the proportion of patients (i) with >= 1 Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) assessed during a 1-year period, (ii) having inactive disease/low disease activity (i.e. ASDAS < 2.1), (iii) in whom re-evaluation of ASDAS within recommended intervals occurred, and (iv) with high disease activity (HDA, i.e. ASDAS >= 2.1) in whom treatment was adapted <= 6 weeks after obtaining ASDAS >= 2.1. Patients with HDA with treatment adaptations were compared with patients with HDA without treatment adaptations. Results In 185 out of 219 patients (84%), disease activity was monitored with >= 1 ASDAS during a 1-year period, of whom 71 (38%) patients had a score below the target (ASDAS < 2.1) at first measurement. Re-evaluation of ASDAS <= 3 months occurred in 11% and 23% of the patients with inactive disease/low disease activity and HDA, respectively. Treatment adaptation occurred in 19 out of 114 patients (17%) with HDA. Patients in whom treatment was adapted had significantly higher ASDAS (P < 0.01), CRP levels (P < 0.05) and physician global assessment (P < 0.05) compared with patients without treatment adaptations. Conclusions Treat-to-target was applied to a limited extent in clinical practice in patients with axial spondyloarthritis. Available disease activity scores seemed not to be used for determining the frequency of re-evaluation nor treatment adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1396-1407
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022


  • spondyloarthritis
  • treat-to-target
  • disease management
  • clinical decision making

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