Pharmacotherapy for juvenile spondyloarthritis: an overview of the available therapies

Introduction: Spondyloarthropathies (SpA) represent a heterogeneous group of inflammatory arthritides with autoimmune pathogenesis that can affect both adults and children with peculiar features such as enthesitis, sacroiliac joint, and axial involvement. Since juvenile onset of SpA (JSpA) is not well codified by the current juvenile idiopathic arthritis classification, studies in this field are restricted to single categories and therefore cannot be exhaustive. This review aims to report recent advances in the treatment of JSpA.

Areas covered: In order to assess the available therapies for JSpA, the authors have analyzed data obtained from retrospective and prospective studies, case reports, and case series, as well as from controlled trials.

Expert opinion: Given the challenging classification of JSpA, research in this field has been restricted to single subcategories. Little is known of which patients are more likely to develop axial involvement leading to severe spinal damage. Whether TNF inhibitors are capable to prevent or stop disease progression, once started, is yet to be ascertained with structural damage still a matter for research. Therefore, trials on the efficacy of TNF inhibitors in JSpA are strongly advocated since they may help to elucidate their place as a treatment option.

Keywords: Anti TNF-α; DMARDs; TNF inhibitors; enthesitis-related arthritis; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; psoriatic arthritis; spondyloarthropathy.