The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today issued guidance for the use of the targeted biological therapies, Enbrel (etanercept) and Raptiva (efalizumab), to treat adult patients with severe plaque psoriasis. However, top experts have expressed their concerns that many patients across Europe could still be denied treatment with this newest class of drugs due to funding issues.
NICE’s announcement comes as welcome relief to the thousands of UK patients who have exhausted current available treatment options and failed to sustain a long-term benefit. It is a positive sign for patients throughout Europe, whose healthcare systems are influenced by NICE decisions. Leeroy Blake in England was fortunate enough to be offered treatment with a biological therapy, after years of trying every other available psoriasis treatment: “For many years, I tried every suitable treatment but nothing seemed to relieve the painful itching. As the itching got worse, I would get more stressed and this only made my condition worse. Following a treatment review with my doctor, I was prescribed a biological therapy and for the first time since developing psoriasis, my skin started to clear and my confidence came back. This treatment might not be suitable for everyone with severe psoriasis, but I think that it’s important that patients at least discuss this option with their doctor”.
Latest research has dismissed the preconception that psoriasis is merely a skin complaint, with recent data showing that severe psoriasis can affect a patient’s quality of life to a similar extent as other prevalent chronic diseases such as diabetes and even heart diseases.
In addition to the impact on a patient’s appearance, up to 30% of patients with psoriasis have been reported to have psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. Coinciding with its decision on the use of biological therapies in moderate to severe psoriasis, NICE has also given its backing for the NHS to use Enbrel and Remicade (infliximab) to treat patients with severe, active psoriatic arthritis. Professor Robert Moots, Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Liverpool, UK welcomes this guidance commenting, “the NICE guidance is a positive step forward for those patients whose condition is severe enough to warrant treatment with biologic therapies” adding that “the onus is now on NHS trusts to take note of this recent recommendation and ensure that the necessary funding is in place to allow patients access to these much-needed therapies.”
This latest NICE guidance should now ensure that for adult patients with severe plaque psoriasis, who have failed on standard therapies, these new treatment options can now be made available. Lars Ettarp, President of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) underlines that “psoriasis is a systemic disease and that IFPA welcomes the new therapies in the treatment of severe psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis. The national healthcare providers must now make funding for these new drugs available in order to help these really sick persons.”
Professor Knud Kragballe, Department of Dermatology, Århus University Hospital in Denmark, has echoed this call: "Health care providers throughout Europe should take note of these recommendations and ensure that necessary funding is in place to allow access to biological therapies. Psoriasis can be highly debilitating and painful condition. If patients fulfill the criteria for a biological therapy then, I believe, it is important that treatment is started with minimal delay.5"
Stevo Knezevic, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of Wyeth Europa commented: “This endorsement of biological therapies is excellent news for psoriatic patients across Europe and the healthcare professionals who care for them. It is now vital that healthcare providers take note of the positive NICE decision, the opinion of dermatologists and the needs of psoriatic patients, and make funding for these therapies available as quickly as possible.”
Patients who would like to find out more about biological therapy are advised to talk to their dermatologist.
In the European Union, Enbrel is approved for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who failed to respond to, or who have a contraindication to, or are intolerant to other systemic therapy including cyclosporine, methotrexate or PUVA (Psoralen (a light-sensitizing medication) combined with exposure to ultraviolet light A (UVA).2 Enbrel is also approved for the treatment of active and progressive psoriatic arthritis in adults when the response to previous disease-modifying antirheumatic drug therapy has been inadequate.2
Physicians in Europe have become familiar with the benefits and long-term tolerability profile of ENBREL since it became commercially available over six years ago. More than 400,000 patients have been treated worldwide across indications. Enbrel is a recombinant human tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor fusion protein that inhibits the activity of TNF. TNF is a cytokine that is released from T lymphocytes; it mediates inflammation and modulates the cellular immune response2. Enbrel is also indicated for treatment of the following:
o Severe, active and progressive rheumatoid arthritis in adults not previously treated with methotrexate.
o Active Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in children aged 4 to 17 years who have had an inadequate response to, or who have proved intolerant of, methotrexate. Enbrel has not been studied in children aged less than 4 years.
o Severe active ankylosing spondylitis in adults who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy.
Since the product was first introduced, serious infections, some involving death, have been reported in patients using ENBREL. Patients should tell their doctor if they currently have an infection or are prone to getting infections. Patients should not start ENBREL if they have an infection of any type or an allergy to ENBREL or its components. ENBREL should be used with caution in patients prone to infection.
There have been reports of serious nervous-system disorders such as multiple sclerosis and/or inflammation of the nerves of the eyes. Patients should inform their doctor if they have ever had any of these disorders or if they develop them after starting ENBREL9. Patients should also tell their doctor if they have ever been treated for heart failure. There also have been rare reports of serious blood disorders, some involving death.
Patients should contact their doctor immediately if they develop symptoms such as persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. It is unclear if ENBREL has caused these nervous-system or blood disorders. If a patient’s doctor confirms serious blood problems, patients may need to stop using ENBREL.
Maja Haglund | alfa
The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope
23.10.2017 | University at Buffalo
Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes
23.10.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine