Friday 4 January 2013

NICE recommends Lucentis for some NHS patients

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that Lucentis (ranibizumab) be available on the NHS for some patients with diabetes-related eye conditions.
NICE has issued a Final Appraisal Determination recommending Lucentis be approved for use within the NHS to treat people with visual impairment due to diabetic macular oedema (DMO) who have more extensive swelling of the retina. Specifically, it recommends Lucentis be used to treat those with a retinal thickness in the eye of 400mm or more at the start of treatment.
Approval of Lucentis could be one of the most significant developments in the treatment of DMO in 25 years as, before now, treatment has been limited to laser therapy. Laser therapy is not suitable for all people due to the nature of their condition and clinical studies have only shown it to stabilise vision on average.
Commenting on the decision, Ben Burton, consultant ophthalmologist at the James Paget University Hospital said: “Granting access to ranibizumab for patients with DMO, who face the very real prospect of permanently losing their vision, is great news. Up until now, most patients could only receive laser treatment on the NHS, which usually just stops their vision worsening but does not necessarily improve it. We have been able to use ranibizumab to treat people with wet age-related macular degeneration since 2007 and have seen good patient outcomes in this disease. Now that ranibizumab has been approved I look forward to seeing improved outcomes for people with this condition.”
The recommendation follows an announcement in December 2012 that Lucentis had been approved to treat people in Scotland with vision impairment as a result of DMO. The article can be accessed here.

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