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Range of drugs for psoriatic arthritis extended

26th August 2010

The charity Arthritis Research UK has said moves to extend the range of drugs that can be prescribed for people with psoriatic arthritis on the NHS would be welcomed by patients.

arthritis

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued final guidance saying doctors may prescribe infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel) or adalimumab (Humira) for patients with active and progressive psoriatic arthritis in a number of circumstances.

A spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK said the NICE decision was fair and sensible.

The charity is currently running a clinical trial into improving the care of people with psoriatic arthritis by testing the effectiveness of earlier, more intensive treatment compared with so-called normal care.

Dr Carole Longson, director of the NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said: “The impact of severe psoriasis on a person's quality of life is considered to be similar to that of other major medical conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.

“The aim of treatment is to relieve the symptoms, delay the progression of the disease and maintain quality of life for as long as possible. We are confident that etanercept, infliximab and adalimumab can do this for certain patients, and so are pleased that all these drugs can be recommended as options for people who have psoriatic arthritis.”

Patients must have peripheral arthritis (affecting the legs or arms) with three or more tender joints and at least three swollen joints to qualify for the treatments and must already have tried at least two standard disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

 

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