National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE issues draft guidance on drugs for the treatment of age related macular degeneration

Draft guidance from NICE on the use of ranibizumab (Lucentis) and pegaptanib (Macugen) has been issued for public consultation today (14 June 2007).

The guidance recommends the use of Lucentis for about 20% of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration, a condition which causes sight loss and blindness. The draft guidance recommends Lucentis for people with predominantly classic subfoveal choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) wet age-related macular degeneration. It recommends Lucentis should be used when both eyes are affected, and that it should be used in the better-seeing eye. The guidance does not recommend the use of Macugen.

Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE said: “When treatments are very expensive, we have to use them where they give most benefit to patients. Most people with AMD only seek help once the disease is beginning to affect their second eye. Because of this, and based on the evidence they have seen, our independent advisory committee believes the right thing to do is to treat and try to save as much sight as possible in the better-seeing eye.”

He continued: “We’re very keen to hear from people with AMD and those who care for them, and as always, our committee will take these views into account when making their final recommendations. We are particularly interested to hear from them and from the manufacturer about the effect on an individual’s quality of life as the disease affects the first eye.”

The consultation on the draft guidance closes on 5 July 2007 and the committee will meet to consider comments on 9 August 2007. Subject to any appeals, the final guidance is expected in September 2007. 

Notes to Editors

About NICE
1. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
2. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

public health – guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
health technologies – guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures within the NHS
clinical practice – guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

About NICE’s appraisal on the use of drugs for age-related macular degeneration

3. Further information about this appraisal can be found on the NICE website at: .

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