Spondyloarthritis (SpA) refers to a group of disorders sharing common clinical, genetic and imaging characteristics. Axial (ax) SpA corresponds to a subgroup that mainly affects the axial skeleton, leading to inflammatory back pain and progressive radiographic changes of the sacroiliac joints and the spine. axSpA are currently subdivided into two forms, namely the radiographic and nonradiographic form, and are associated with musculoskeletal pain, restriction of spinal mobility, specific extra-articular features and overall, altered quality of life. The therapeutic management of axSpA has considerably progressed and is now well standardized. Areas covered: Herein, the author reviews the pharmacological treatments that may be used in axSpA, including radiographic and nonradiographic forms in addition to the role of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), TNF alpha (TNFi), and IL-17A (IL-17Ai) inhibitors. Expert opinion: NSAIDs remain the mainstay of initial therapy and biological agents may be then envisaged. TNFi and IL-17Ai may be used in axSpA, but physicians have more experience with TNFi. Only TNFi are licensed for the treatment of nonradiographic axSpA. IL-17Ai may be used as first or second line biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) and further results are needed to better define their position in the therapeutic management of axSpA.