Nice eases drug restrictions for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers
Thousands of people with rheumatoid arthritis could be given the chance to try new drugs following a U-turn by the health watchdog.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has issued guidance which effectively reverses a decision it made two years ago to deny a range of drugs to sufferers. In 2008, Nice said patients would not able able to try a second TNF (tumour necrosis factor)-alpha inhibitor if a first attempt at therapy failed. But charities called it a "prescription for pain" and said moving from one therapy to a second or third has been established practice for years.
Data from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register suggests that about 70 per cent of patients will get a good response from a second lot of therapy if the effects of the first start to wane. Nice also rejected the drug abatacept (Orencia) for arthritis in 2008, meaning the number of effective therapies was cut from five to two.
In March this year, Nice issued new guidance recommending the use of a drug called rituximab, but said others could only be used in research. In new draft guidance, Nice now recommends rituximab as the treatment for patients who have failed or who have not responded to other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. It also recommended others for patients who failed on one TNF inhibitor or have not responded to other drugs.
Dr Carole Longson, the director of health technology evaluation centre at Nice, said: "The focus of this appraisal was to look at treatment options when a TNF inhibitor has not worked or when it has lost its effect. The evidence suggests that rituximab works in this context and is cost-effective. However, not all patients are able to take rituximab, so the appraisal committee has recommended that [other drugs] adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab or abatacept may be given. We hope this wider choice of options will mean people will be able to manage their rheumatoid arthritis more effectively."
Life & Style blogs
Other popular areas include Didsbury, Clifton in Bristol, central Cambridge and West Bridgford
Doctors are allowed to have personal beliefs, just as long as these beliefs do not interfere with th...
BBC journalist Justin Webb talks about his experiences of the advances in preventing heart attacks a...
- 1 'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
- 2 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
- 5 'It was just like the movie Twister': Man survives Oklahoma tornado by taking refuge in horse stall
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Excellent Salary Package - £60K to £120K: Austen Lloyd: We have an exciting op...
£200 - £250 per day: Progressive Recruitment: Java Developer - Urgent Requirem...
£70000 - £95000 per annum + Bonus, flexible working hours, remote work: Progre...
£50000 - £56000 per annum + Benefits package, flexible working hours: Progress...