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Reslizumab for treating eosinophilic asthma is recommended by NICE, informed by a SHTAC report

Published: 5 October 2017
Treatment for asthma
The UK has some of the highest rates of asthma in Europe

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance to the National Health Service on the use of the drug reslizumab for treating cases of eosinophilic asthma that are inadequately controlled by high-dose corticosteroids. NICE’s recommendation was informed by a report produced by SHTAC

Asthma is a chronic disease associated with inflammation, obstruction and hyper-responsiveness of the airways, and serious breathing difficulties. The UK has some of the highest rates of asthma in Europe, with around 5.4 million people in the UK affected (1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults). Asthma costs the NHS an estimated £1 billion a year, with most of the costs attributed to severe cases. Eosinophilic asthma is a type of severe asthma in which concentrations of white blood cells called eosinophils, which play a role in airway inflammation, are increased. The raised eosinophil levels are associated with increased frequency of asthma attacks (called exacerbations) and poor asthma control. Despite best therapeutic attempts, which include the use of high-dose corticosteroids, severe eosinophilic asthma is difficult to control and treatment options are very limited.

Reslizumab [brand name Cinquaero®, Teva Pharmaceuticals] is a new treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma which is given intravenously once every four weeks. Reslizumab is a type of monoclonal antibody drug called an interleukin-5 inhibitor which reduces the number and severity of asthma attacks by reducing the number and activity of eosinophils.

NICE’s guidance recommends reslizumab, within its marketing authorisation, as an add-on therapy option for treating severe eosinophilic asthma that is inadequately controlled in adults despite maintenance therapy with high-dose inhaled corticosteroids plus another drug. The recommendation applies if patients have at least 400 eosinophil cells per microlitre of blood and have experienced at least three asthma exacerbations in the past year. It is a condition of the guidance that Teva provides reslizumab with the discount agreed in the patient access scheme.

For more information on SHTAC’s research into asthma please visit our Research page.

 

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