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NICE approves secukinumab for chronic pain condition

NICE has recommended the use of secukinumab as an option for treating a chronic back pain condition affecting young adults.

Novartis, which markets secukinumab 150mg injectable solution as Cosentyx, announced yesterday (June 17) that NICE had approved the medicine for adults with non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) that is not controlled sufficiently by NSAIDs. 

The inflammatory back pain condition, which can cause severe discomfort and in some cases irreversible spine damage, is thought to affect around 165,000 people in the UK, with symptoms typically developing around the age of 24. However, Novartis claims nr-axSpA is widely underdiagnosed, with UK patients waiting an average of 8.5 years before they receive a diagnosis.

The NICE recommendation is based on data from the Phase III PREVENT study, described as the largest ever study involving the use of a biologic in patients with nr-axSpA. The study showed a “significant reduction” in disease activity at week 16 compared to placebo.

Previous clinical studies have shown that secukinumab can be used to help manage psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. 

“The decision from NICE in nr-axSpA follows recent Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approval and means secukinumab is now recommended as a much-needed additional treatment option for people with this debilitating condition in England, Scotland and Wales,” said Novartis UK’s Caitriona Walsh.

Dr Raj Sengupta, consultant rheumatologist at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases commented: “nr-axSpA can take a huge toll on patients’ physical and mental health at a young age with symptoms including chronic pain, morning stiffness, fatigue and reduced mobility, making everyday tasks a real challenge. 

“If left untreated, nr-axSpA may cause irreversible damage, subjecting people to a lifetime of intense back pain. The NICE decision is a key milestone for clinicians and patients who will now have access to an additional treatment option that may help patients.”

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