AIM: To assess gender differences in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients in relation to tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitor (TNFi) drug survival and occurrence of adverse events in daily practice in a large peripheral hospital.
METHOD: Retrospective data were collected from AS patients treated with etanercept, infliximab and adalimumab between January 2004 and January 2014. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were conducted to describe the drug survival and occurrence of adverse events in time.
RESULTS: Overall, 122 AS patients (60.7% male) were included over a 10-year time period, with a mean treatment period of 51 months (1-127 months). In total, 21 (17.2%) patients stopped the TNFi, mainly due to inefficacy (52.4%). Female patients showed a significant shorter treatment period compared to males (33.4 vs. 44.9 months). In addition, female patients switched more between TNFi compared to males (26.9% vs. 16.3%) and had a significantly higher risk at developing infections compared to male patients (26% vs.19%).
CONCLUSION: Females stayed on the same TNFi for a significantly shorter period compared to males (33.4 vs. 44.9 months) and the most important reason to stop or switch the drug was inefficacy. Moreover, females seemed to be more prone to infections during TNFi treatment than males.