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Friday 21st October 2016

Arthritis drug range to expand

25th June 2010

New draft guidelines from the government’s health watchdog looks set to give people with rheumatoid arthritis access to a wider range of drugs.

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The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advances previous guidance for England and Wales which said patients could be prescribed only one course of anti-TNF (anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha) drugs to block inflammation.

But in the latest draft guidelines, NICE recommends rituximab as the treatment for patients who have failed on an anti-TNF or who have not responded to other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

It indicates rituximab should not be given more often than every six months and should only be continued if there is an adequate response; and adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab and abatacept for patients who have failed on one anti-TNF or who have not responded to other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and who cannot take rituximab.

There are an estimated 580,000 people in England and Wales with the disease and about 87,000 of them with severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Adalimunab, etanercept, infliximab can slow the progress of disease and help to reduce symptoms such as joint pain, swelling, mobility and fatigue.

Dr Carole Longson from NICE said: "Different people respond in different ways to treatment and the committee heard from clinical experts and patients about the importance of having multiple options available.

"We have already recommended the TNF inhibitors adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab for some people with rheumatoid arthritis as options for use after conventional treatments."

The charities Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care both welcomed the new guidance.


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