National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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25,000 people to benefit after NICE recommends new ulcerative colitis treatment

New one-a-day pill recommended on the same day the treatment was granted a licence by the MHR

Thousands of people could be set to benefit after NICE yesterday (Monday, 11 March) recommended a new one-a-day pill as an option for treating severe ulcerative colitis. 

NICE’s final guidance on etrasimod (also known as Velsipity and made by Pfizer) is being published on the same day that the treatment was granted a licence by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

Just over 25,000 people in England are eligible to receive the new treatment, which was evaluated using a simpler technologyappraisal process. As a result, the final guidance was available up to eight weeks faster than would have been the case under standard process. 

Etrasimod is recommended for people aged 16 and over with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis who have had an inadequate response, lost response or were intolerant to either conventional therapy or biological treatment.   

Ulcerative colitis is a long-term disease affecting the colon and rectum and can cause recurring diarrhoea, arthritis, and osteoporosis.  

The treatment helps reduce inflammation in the colon by helping to control the level of immune cells in the blood.  

Clinical trial evidence shows that etrasimod is more effective than placebo for treating moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. Indirect comparisons suggest that it is likely to work better than adalimumab (an immunotherapy treatment) and may be similarly effective to other usual treatments for moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis.  

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said:“Severe ulcerative colitis is a debilitating lifelong condition;etrasimod provides a new convenient and effective treatment option that will make a positive difference for thousands of people.  

“I’m very pleased we have been able to publish our final guidance recommending the treatment on the day the MHRA granted it alicence. We are determined to continue getting the best care to patients fast.” 

It is estimated that around 300,000 people across the UK have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The condition can develop at any age but is most often diagnosed in people between 15 and 25-years-old.   

The company has a confidential commercial arrangement in place which makes etrasimod available to the NHS with a discount.  

Read the full final guidance recommending etrasimod for treating moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis on the NICE website.

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