Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NICE backs new drugs class for inflammatory bowel condition

  • 1 Comment

Three biologic therapies have been provisionally approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for NHS use in England and Wales as treatment options for ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition in which inflammation develops in the large intestine. It affects around 146,000 people in the UK.

Common symptoms include abdominal pain and bloody diarrhoea, and patients also may experience fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite and rectal bleeding.

NICE has issued a final appraisal determination covering infliximab (Remicade),  adalimumab (Humira) and golimumab (Simponi).

“We know that these drugs can be life-transforming for people who live with these extremely debilitating symptoms”

Helen Terry

They are recommended as options for moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis in adults who have responded inadequately or cannot tolerate conventional therapies – such as corticosteroids and mercaptopurine or azathioprine.

Additionally, NICE has recommended infliximab as an option for treating severely active ulcerative colitis in children and young people aged six-17 years whose disease has responded inadequately to conventional therapy.

The three drugs are biologic therapies called monoclonal antibodies that inhibit the pro-inflammatory cytokine, TNF-alpha. Two are administered by subcutaneous injection and the other by infusion.

Campaigners said the decision marked a “significant step-change” in improving access to treatment options for patients with moderately to severely active disease.

Previous NICE guidance restricted the use of biologic therapies to those hospitalised with severe ulcerative colitis. Those with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis faced a colectomy if conventional therapies failed.

Helen Terry, director of policy at Crohn’s and Colitis UK, said: “This is fantastic news for people with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, as it gives them much-needed additional treatment options. 

“We know that these drugs can be life-transforming for people who live with these extremely debilitating symptoms, and who have had problems or no success with other treatments and may be facing surgery,” she said.

The guidance is scheduled to be rubber-stamped by NICE in January, meaning the NHS will be expected to fund the drugs within three months.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • As the mother and a nurse of a young daughter I have witnessed first hand this horrid horrid condition my daughter was very sick for a considerable number of years and the GP was ignorant and unhelpful for most of this time, until she was near collapse with the number of toilet visits and weight loss. I could go on in great detail for the years she suffered which ended in major emergency surgery for her 21st birthday. The condition even after this surgery is ongoing with life long treatment and medication which is not recognised as a medical disability and she cannot get and medical or financial assistance, however she is alive to which we are all grateful for but this condition can be passed onto her children, but lets hope its not. Perhaps if she had been obese she may have got more help from the medical profession or when she still has to use the disabled toilets in public places others may not judge quite so harshly with horrid stares that she is not using a stick or wheelchair it could be easier. ANYTHING to help this condition will be a bonus to all the people who suffer.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs