SPondylARite Condis

project manager

phd fellow

About the project

Spondyloarthritis (formerly called ankylosing spondylitis) is an inflammatory joint disease that affects the pelvic joints and spine. It can cause reduced mobility and pain, has an onset before the age of 45 and affects about 1% of the population. Exercise is a cornerstone in the treatment of spondyloarthritis and is always part of the treatment regardless of whether medication is also needed. The drug treatment may consist of mild anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Ibux, Naproxen) when needed or potent immunosuppressive drugs in the form of tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (e.g. Erelzi, Hyrimoz) as regular treatment.

Patients with spondyloarthritis and rheumatologists need a reliable evaluation of exercise efficacy before deciding on potent immunosuppressive drugs. With the SPARK exercise application, we will offer evidence-based exercise with progression to patients with spondyloarthritis. The evaluation will consist of the need for drug treatment in the form of potent immunosuppressive drugs.

Who can participate?

Adult patients with newly diagnosed spondyloarthritis without iridocyclitis or other obvious reasons to choose TNFi as first-line treatment or patients where hard exercise is contraindicated (e.g. uncontrolled hyperthyroidism, amputations). Inclusion is assessed by a rheumatologist.

Inclusion is scheduled to start in January 2024.

Project arrangement

Patients who want to take part in the study are divided into two groups by drawing lots (randomization).

  1. The intervention group will be assigned the SPARK training application for smartphones or tablets. The intervention group will receive an introduction to the application, training in general and different types of training, they will carry out training 3 days per week and will be continuously monitored by study staff to ensure a progression in training. Exercise will be logged via smartwatch or by self-registration directly in the application.
  2. The control group will be advised on exercise by the rheumatologist.

In both groups, blood samples will be taken, body composition will be measured and participants will answer questionnaires.

After 3 months, the main outcome measure is evaluated, which is whether or not training has contributed to less use of potent immunosuppressant drugs. Then a new randomization is done where all participants get access to training via the SPARK application, but one group gets continuous follow-up and the other follows the training via SPARK on their own. The secondary outcome, again in the form of use of potent immunosuppressive drugs, is assessed after another 3 months. The study runs for a total of 6 months.


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