Pod cast in lung treatment role

 NICE has recommended the use of Novartis’ Tobi Podhaler tablets but failed to back Forest Laboratories UK’s Colobreathe tablets for treating cystic fibrosis patients with a pseudomonas lung infection.

The draft guidance recommends a nebulised version of Tobi Podhaler if it is considered appropriate when nebulised Colobreathe is contraindicated, not tolerated or has not produced adequate clinical response.

Tobi Podhaler tablets should also only be prescribed under the terms of an agreed patient access scheme between Novartis and the Department of Health.

Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE, said the Institute was “pleased to recommend” another treatment option for patients.

Cystic fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases. It currently affects around 8,000 people – although more than two million people carry the faulty gene.

Sufferers are prone to lung infections by a range of pathogens. The aim of treatment is to clear the respiratory sections to maintain lung function whilst reducing inflammation and bacterial growth. Although there is no cure, treatment includes regular physiotherapy, antibiotics, and inhaled mucolytics through a nebuliser.

Tobi Podhaler is inhaled using a breath activated hand-held device which works by reducing the amount of bacteria in the lungs. NICE’s independent Appraisal Committee concluded the Podhaler was a cheaper and more effective option than a nebulised option.

However, the Committee said the economic analysis for Colobreathe was less effective and less costly than nebulised Tobi Podhaler. Additionally, analysis could not convey that Colobreathe is a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

The draft guidance is now open for consultation. NICE expects to publish final guidance in March 2013.