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NICE recommends three new arthritis therapies

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Three new treatments for psoriatic arthritis have been recommended for use by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Etanercept, adalimumab and infliximab have all been put forward for use under certain circumstances for the condition, which causes inflammation in and around the joints in people already suffering from the skin condition psoriasis.

The draft follows on from current NICE guidance, published in 2006 and 2007, and claims that both etanercept and adalimumab should be used when the person has peripheral arthritis with three or more tender joints and three or more swollen joints, or when the psoriatic arthritis has not responded to adequate trials of at least two standard disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), administered either individually or in combination.

The third treatment, infliximab, should only be used in adults who have active or progressive psoriatic arthritis in both these circumstances, and if the patient is intolerant of etanercept and adalimumab.

Infliximab is also recommended for use in patients who have problems injecting themselves with etanercept and adalimumab.

Dr Carole Longson, NICE, said: “The aim of psoriatic arthritis treatment is to relieve symptoms, slow disease progression and maintain quality of life. Infliximab remains an alternative option for people unable to use etanercept or adalimumab. We hope that these draft recommendations will help in the management of this disabling disease.”

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