People suffering from severe Crohn’s disease could now be prescribed two alternative drugs if other commonly used treatments are not effective.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has approved infliximab and adalimumab for those whose condition cannot be treated with other therapies.
The drugs can be given to adults in whom the disease has taken a severe, active form, although cost must be considered and the cheaper drug administered first.
Adults with active, fistulising Crohn’s and children aged six to 17 with severe, active Crohn’s could be given infliximab, NICE recommended.
Dr Carole Longson, health technology evaluation centre director said: “We are pleased to recommend these treatments for this debilitating, incurable condition.
“Our review of the evidence indicates that infliximab and adalimumab are clinically and cost effective options for some people with the most severe forms of Crohn’s disease, and for those that standard treatments have failed, or are not an option”
The NHS will have to put the advice into practice within three months, to replace existing localised recommendations.