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NICE to reconsider restrictions on use of arthritis drugs for NHS patients

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NICE is to reconsider guidance limiting the use of anti-TNF drugs for NHS patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Following a successful appeal from the RCN and arthritis campaigners, the institute is to review its recommendations issued in September that NHS patients in England and Wales with rheumatoid arthritis be restricted to just one anti-TNF drug – such as etanercept, adalimumab or infliximab.

According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, it is established clinical practice for patients to be started on one anti-TNF drug, then to try a second or third should the first attempt be unsuccessful.

NICE reaction

But NICE initially said there was not enough evidence to show that switching to another anti-TNF was either clinically or cost-effective if the first drug failed to work.

Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, said: ‘We are delighted that NICE have listened to patients and clinicians and agreed to re-look at the evidence for the sequential use of anti-TNF drugs.’

A spokesperson for NICE said they hope to complete the new appraisal as soon as possible.

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