The Scottish Medicines Consortium, (SMC), which advises on newly licensed medicines for use by NHSScotland, has published advice accepting four new medicines.
Fampridine (Fampyra) was accepted for the improvement of walking in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) with walking disability. MS is a life-long, progressive neurological condition affecting the central nervous system and is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults. Patient group submissions highlighted that there are currently no medical treatment option for patients who experience walking disability. For those patients in whom fampridine is effective, even a small improvement in walking ability can have a significant positive impact on their daily lives.
Insulin glargine / lixisenatide (Suliqua) was accepted for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It is used with another diabetes medicine, metformin, when blood glucose (sugar) levels are not satisfactorily controlled with metformin and insulin. Insulin glargine / lixisenatide offers another treatment option to control blood glucose levels for people with type 2 diabetes.
Ustekinumab (Stelara) was accepted for the treatment of moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis, a disease which causes inflammation of the gut. Patients with this condition can experience frequent diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue, which can affect their ability to work and socialise. Ustekinumab offers another treatment option and may help some patients to delay or avoid the need for surgery.
“The approval of ustekinumab for ulcerative colitis by SMC is very welcome and timely news. This provides an effective and convenient new drug for clinicians to use in patients with UC, who are in need of new treatment options,” commented Professor Charlie Lees, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh. “It was only six years ago in Scotland that no biologics were approved for moderate to severely active ulcerative colitis. We now have an armamentarium of effective treatments that can get patients well, to a better quality of life and keep them off steroids and out of hospital.”
Naldemedine (Rizmoic) was accepted for the treatment of constipation caused by analgesics (painkillers) called opioids (e.g. morphine). This is a very common side effect of opioids; it can be extremely distressing for patients and can be very difficult to treat. Naldemedine offers another option for patients who have not responded to laxatives.
SMC chair Dr Alan MacDonald said: “The committee is pleased to be able to accept these four new medicines.
“For people with MS who experience walking disability, being able to access a medicine that can improve this even to a limited degree is of benefit, and we know our decision on fampridine will be welcomed.
“Our decision on insulin glargine provides another treatment option for those with type 2 diabetes.
“Ustekinumab offers an alternative treatment option for those patients with ulcerative colitis and may reduce the requirement for surgery in some patients.
“For patients being treated with opioid painkillers such as morphine, naldemedine provides an alternative for treating constipation when previous medicines have been ineffective.”