Drug that slows the affects of multiple sclerosis recommended by health officials

A drug that slows the affects of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been recommended for treatment on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has published draft guidance which recommends ocrelizumab for treating relapsing-remitting MS in adults.

There are around 100,000 people with MS in the UK, a chronic, lifelong and disabling condition that affects the brain and spinal cord for which there is no cure.

The relapsing form of MS affects around 85-90% of people at the time of diagnosis and is characterised by periods of remission, when symptoms are mild or disappear altogether, followed by relapses.

Clinical trials have shown that ocrelizumab reduces relapses and slows the progression of disability.

Ocrelizumab is given as an infusion during an outpatient appointment once every six months, and less frequent monitoring for side effects is needed than with other treatments.

The draft guidance from Nice recommends ocrelizumab as an option only when another drug, alemtuzumab, is inappropriate for the patient.

Jo Sopala, director of development at the MS Trust, said: “There is significant unmet need in the treatment of MS, particularly for those with PPMS (primary progressive MS) who currently have no disease-modifying treatment options.

“We welcome this positive Nice review for RRMS (relapsing-remitting MS), and hope that it brings us closer to the treatment being made available to people with early PPMS too.”

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