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A clinically-proven therapy for plaque psoriasis has been recommended for NHS use in England, Wales and Scotland.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued technology appraisal guidance recommending Tremfya, also known as guselkumab, as an option for treating plaque psoriasis in adults, based on positive findings from clinical trials.
This recommendation applies in cases of severe disease, where patients have not responded to or are unsuitable for other systemic therapies, including cyclosporine, methotrexate and PUVA.
NICE's ruling will make the drug available for routine prescription via NHS pharmacists in England and Wales. Meanwhile, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has also recommended guselkumab on the NHS in Scotland for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Both of these recommendations were based on data from two phase III clinical studies, dubbed VOYAGE 1 and 2, which compared the performance of guselkumab with placebo therapy and the rival drug Humira, also known as adalimumab.
The data showed that Tremfya delivered high levels of skin clearance after 16 weeks of treatment, with longer-term results showing these benefits can be sustained up to week 100. Moreover, manufacturer Janssen has agreed to supply the drug to the NHS with a discount, as outlined in a patient access scheme.
Jennifer Lee, director of health economics, market access, reimbursement and advocacy at Janssen, said: "We are delighted with the NICE and SMC decisions, extending access to guselkumab for people suffering with psoriasis in the UK.
"There is still a need for new treatment options that improve long-term outcomes for patients, who so often have to deal with the psychological as well as the physical impact of this disease."
It is estimated that psoriasis affects up to 1.8 million people in the UK, resulting in visible, itchy and painful patches of abnormal scaly skin. Almost one-third of patients experience depression and anxiety due to their condition.
Written by James Puckle
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