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Hospital pharmacists could soon be able to offer a new treatment option for people affected by plaque psoriasis.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued final draft guidance that, if finalised, would make guselkumab available as a treatment option for adult NHS patients in England and Wales who have severe forms of the inflammatory skin disease.
Guselkumab is manufactured by Janssen and is also known by its brand name Tremfya. It is indicated for people who have not responded to, or cannot take, other systemic therapies such as ciclosporin and methotrexate, and has already demonstrated considerable promise in various clinical trials.
Results have shown that guselkumab can provide similar health benefits at a comparable cost to ixekizumab and secukinumab - two other biological drugs previously recommended by NICE - as well as being more effective than recommended anti-TNF therapies such as adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab, and the IL-12/IL-23 inhibitor ustekinumab.
NICE granted this approval after a patient access scheme was agreed with the Department of Health and Social Care by the manufacturer, allowing the regulator to recommend the drug as a cost-effective treatment option for NHS use.
Chris Griffiths, foundation professor of dermatology at the University of Manchester and a member of the steering committee for the VOYAGE 1 clinical study of guselkumab, said: "Psoriasis is a serious long-term condition with important comorbidities that can impact patients' daily lives.
"Guselkumab provides a significant and welcome advance in our management of psoriasis with a high percentage of patients achieving clear or nearly clear skin over the long term."
Psoriasis is estimated to affect around 959,000 people in England, and is characterised by red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. Around 43,000 people have severe plaque psoriasis, a form of the disease that can have a serious impact on patients' quality of life, and for which there remains a strong demand for new treatment options.
Written by James Puckle
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