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May 03
Katelyn Snider, U.S. Communications and Public Affairs
Disease Spotlight: Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis

UCB is committed to improving care and outcomes for patients across the axial spondyloarthritis spectrum of disease. So, for Spondyloarthritis Awareness Month, we’re shining a spotlight on Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA).

What is nr-axSpA? Nr-axSpa is a subgroup of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), a spectrum of inflammatory diseases which includes nr-axSpA and ankylosing spondylitis. In nr-axSpA, inflammation in the joints that connect the pelvis and spine, known as sacroiliac joints, does not show up on x-ray. Over time, some nr-axSpA patients can progress to AS, a condition in which structural damage is irreversible and detectable by x-ray.

How does nr-axSpA impact patients? Disease onset typically begins in early adulthood with an average onset at age 28. Patients face a significant disease burden and often experience substantial inflammatory back pain, prolonged and severe stiffness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, reduced physical function, decreased quality of life, impaired work and home productivity and social participation. Nr-axSpA requires early diagnosis, yet for many patients, the journey to diagnosis can take nearly 10 years from symptom onset.

How many people are affected by nr-axSpA? It is estimated that at as many as 3.3 million adults in the U.S. have axSpA. Within the axSpA spectrum of disease, the prevalence is split roughly equally between nr-axSpA and AS.  Historically, nr-axSpA has not been well-recognized due to a lack of understanding of the natural history of the disease, the variability of disease manifestations and clinical presentation, the lack of structural damage evident on imaging, and the higher incidence rate in female patients, all which lead to substantial diagnostic delay.

At UCB, we’re proud of our leadership in nr-axSpA as we continue on our mission to deliver what patients value. We believe by fulfilling our commitment, driving innovation, and providing patients a meaningful experience, more impactful solutions are on the horizon.


  1. https://www.spondylitis.org/Types-of-Spondylitis
  2. https://www.ucb.com/disease-areas/axial-spondyloarthritis
  3. https://ucb-usa.com/stories-media/UCB-U-S-News/detail/article/Press-Release-CIMZIA%C2%AE-certolizumab-pegol-is-Now-the-First-and-Only-U-S-FDA-Approved-Treatment-for-Non-Radiographic-Axial-Spondyloarthritis
  4. https://www.ucb.com/patients/magazine/article/World-Ankylosing-Spondylitis-Day-We-watch-your-back
  5. Deodhar A, et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016;68(7):1669-1676.