NICE recommends new treatment option for patients with MS
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of Genzyme's multiple sclerosis drug alemtuzumab (also known as Lemtrada).
Alemtuzumab has been described by experts as a "revolutionary" treatment for some people which could allow them to live their lives as they had before being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.
NICE has appraised alemtuzumab as a treatment for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic and disabling neurological condition that, as it progresses, can have a substantial negative impact on a person's quality of life.
Currently available treatments for this type of multiple sclerosis are either oral daily tablets or injections given several times each week and can have unpleasant side effects.
Alemtuzumab is given intravenously once a year for two years. Taken in two courses, the first course is administered for five consecutive days, and the second course is administered for three consecutive days 12 months later. No further treatment is needed the rest of the time, although regular check-ups may be required. Alemtuzumab does have some possible serious side effects associated with it, including kidney disease and thyroid problems, although clinical specialists say that these can be manageable when patients comply with monitoring requirements.
NICE Chief Executive, Sir Andrew Dillon said: "We are very pleased to be able to recommend alemtuzumab for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Evidence has shown that alemtuzumab is more effective and less expensive than current similar treatments for those with severe relapsing-remitting MS. The NICE Committee heard from clinical specialists and patients during the appraisal process who described alemtuzumab as a revolutionary treatment for some people, allowing them to live their lives as they had before their diagnosis."
The guidance has been published on the NICE website. The NHS now has a legal duty to begin funding the treatment for eligible patients within the next 3 months.
Notes to Editors
About the guidance
Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada, Genzyme) is an antibody that binds to cells of the immune system (B and T cells), causing their destruction. The way in which alemtuzumab slows the decline of active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis is not fully understood. Alemtuzumab has a UK marketing authorisation for treating adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with active disease defined by clinical or imaging features. The recommended dosage of alemtuzumab is 12 mg/day administered by intravenous infusion for 2 treatment courses. The initial treatment course lasts 5 consecutive days, followed 12 months later by the second treatment course of 3 consecutive days.
2. The price of alemtuzumabis £7045 per 12 mg vial, which equates to £56,360 for the full course of treatment consisting of 5 daily consecutive 12 mg doses in year 1, followed by 3 daily consecutive 12 mg doses 12 months later in year 2. Costs may vary in different settings because of negotiated procurement discounts.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. We develop guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. We also advise on ways to promote healthy living and prevent ill health.
Our aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.
Our products and resources are produced for the NHS, local authorities, care providers, charities, and anyone who has a responsibility for commissioning or providing healthcare, public health or social care services.
To find out more about what we do, visit our website: www.nice.org.uk and follow us on Twitter: @NICEComms.