Scotland approves take at home MS drug in UK first

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved a new treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), the first country in the UK to do so.

The treatment, called Ozanimod-Zeposia, has been developed for adult patients with relapsing remitting MS. The treatment option may reduce the need to have treatment administered in a clinical setting and is just one of four drugs which have been newly approved.

Effective

The treatment is taken orally once a day and provides the advantage of being taken at home, avoiding clinical appointments during the coronavirus pandemic.

The manufacturer, Bristol Myer Squibb, says the treatment is cost effective and patients in Scotland will be the first in the UK to have access to it.

With more than 15,000 patients, Scotland has one of the highest MS rates in the world.

Evidence

The new drug will be available to patients through NHS for the next three years while the pharmaceutical company gathers more data on the effects of the medicine. The SMC will then review the evidence and make a decision on routine availability through the health service.

Along with the new treatment for MS, the SMC also approved access to drugs for: erythropoietic protoporphyria, which causes painful burns and scars in exposure to strong light; paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria, which is a life-threatening condition in which red blood cells break apart prematurely; and a new treatment for severe rheumatoid arthritis.

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