Objectives Effective management of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA)-related fatigue is a major unmet clinical need. Anti-TNF therapy may reduce fatigue levels, although any effect has yet to be definitively quantified and predictors of any such improvements are unknown. Methods The British Society of Rheumatology Register in Axial Spondyloarthritis (BSRBR-AS) prospectively recruited axSpA patients across the UK. Changes in fatigue levels (measured using the Chalder Fatigue Scale) >1 year were compared between those starting anti-TNF therapy at the time of recruitment and those not. Differences between treatment groups were adjusted using propensity score matching. Results were meta-analysed with the extant literature to calculate pooled estimates. Then, among those BSRBR-AS anti-TNF commencers with clinically relevant fatigue, baseline predictors of response were investigated. Results Of the 998 BSRBR-AS recruits with complete fatigue data, 310 were anti-TNF commencers. At 1-year follow-up, the former group reported a mean fatigue change of −2.6 (95% CI −4.1, −1.9) points while the latter reported a mean worsening of fatigue by 0.2 points. Following propensity score adjustment, those commencing anti-TNF therapy reduced fatigue by 3.0 points compared with those not. Of those with significant fatigue and commencing anti-TNF, poor sleep quality at baseline predicted fatigue improvement. In the meta-analysis, including 1109 subjects, treatment with anti-TNF therapy resulted in a significant improvement in fatigue [Standardized mean difference (SMD) = 0.36, 95% CI 0.15, 1.56]. Conclusion Anti-TNF therapy results in a significant but modest reduction in fatigue amongst axSpA patients, with those reporting poor sleep quality most likely to report improvement. Effective management will likely require additional approaches.
- Anti-Tumour Necrosis Factor
- Axial Spondylarthritis