BackToBasic: Infliximab in Chronic Low Back Pain and Modic Changes

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Oslo University Hospital
Updated on 8 December 2021
back pain
low back pain
acute back pain
intervertebral disc degeneration


Low-Back Pain (LBP) is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Even though LBP relates to different underlying pathologies, there are a substantial number of patients with chronic complaints that have vertebral bone marrow lesions visualized as Modic changes (MC) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Despite the clinical evidence that MC is painful, the etiology is unknown and there is currently no established treatment. It has been suggested that MCs are secondary to a biomechanically induced degradation with a subsequent autoimmune response, supported by evidence showing that Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- plays a critical role in intervertebral disc degeneration and MCs. Clinical trials suppressing inflammation with TNF-alfa blockers in patients with acute low back pain and sciatica provide evidence to support the initiation of a clinical trial assessing the effect of TNF-alfa blockers in patients with chronic low-back pain and MCs. Since TNF-alfa blockers is an established treatment for immune-mediated disorders like spondyloarthritis by reducing pain as well as bone marrow lesions, the researchers aim to assess whether this treatment is effective for chronic LBP with MCs. In addition refine diagnostic assessment and explore potential biomarkers, which will provide an increased understanding of underlying factors causing LBP, and ultimately result in better management and treatment for one of the most costly and challenging patient populations.


The following information will be collected at baseline, in addition to pre-specified efficacy assessments: age, gender, BMI (measured at site), ethnicity, marital status, children, educational level, work status, physical work load, leisure time activity, smoking habits, expectations about treatment effect and characteristics of pain (duration, agrevating factors, morning stiffness, morning pain, relief by NSAIDs, night time pain and former treatment). Emotional distress will be measured using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 at baseline. The researchers will measure fear-avoidance beliefs about physical activity and work with Fear-avoidance beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ) at baseline. Subjective health complaints (SHC) will be measured using a formal inventory which consists of 29 questions concerning severity and duration of subjective somatic and psychological complaints and will be measured at baseline. In addition, routine clinical investigations (pain provocation tests (springing test, active flexion / extension of the lumbar spine) and neurological tests (strength, toe-/heel walking, sensibility, reflexes, straight leg raising test, reverse Lasegue test)) will be structured and registered in the CRF at baseline.

Condition Low Back Pain, Back Pain, Chronic Back Pain, Lower Back Pain, lumbago
Treatment Placebo, Biosimilar Infliximab
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03704363
SponsorOslo University Hospital
Last Modified on8 December 2021

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