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NICE recommends secukinumab for the treatment of patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
A draft guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released on August 4, 2016 recommends Novartis’ Cosentyx (secukinumab) for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that mainly affects the joints of the lower spine, leading to back pain, stiffness, swelling, and tiredness. The draft guidance recommends the drug for treating active ankylosing spondylitis in adults when non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or TNF-alpha inhibitors haven’t worked or aren’t suitable.
According to NICE, secukinumab, which was only licensed for use in the United Kingdom in May, is the first in a new class of drug to treat the condition. The drug helps patients by reducing inflammation and pain, and improving mobility. It comes in pre-filled pen syringes and is injected by the patient. NICE says approximately 200,000 people have ankylosing spondylitis in the UK, with approximately 2300 new diagnoses each year in England and Wales.
“The committee heard from patient and clinical experts that having a greater choice of treatments would be particularly valuable because it would allow people with ankylosing spondylitis and their clinicians choose treatments that reflect their individual needs and preferences and give them more control over their condition,” Carole Longson, MBE, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said in a press release. “The committee also heard that it is particularly important to have a different option for patients when treatment with a second TNF-alpha inhibitor isn’t possible or hasn’t worked. The committee concluded that secukinumab is a promising new advance in treating active ankylosing spondylitis and that its availability on the NHS would be good news for people with this often distressing condition.”